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LETTER AND SPIRIT
OF THE LAW
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THE NATION'S PUBLIC
A REPORT OF THE UNITED STATES
COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS
UNIVERSITY Of MM*^^".'
LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL
U.S. COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS
Washington, D. C.
THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE
THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights presents this report to
you pursuant to Public Law 8 5-315 as amended.
This document contains the Commission's evaluation of school
desegregation in a variety of school districts throughout
the country. The information on which this report is based
was obtained primarily from a series of Commission-initiated
efforts, including four full Commission hearings, four State
Advisory Committee open meetings, a mail survey to possible
respondents in 1,291 districts, and 900 indepth interviews
in 29 school districts throughout the country.
As a result of these recent initiatives and nearly 20 years'
experience, the Commission is uniquely qualified to assess
the Nation's progress in desegregating its schools and to
identify factors that contribute to effective desegregation.
The report reveals that in most communities desegregation
has gone peacefully and smoothly--f or every Boston and
Louisville there are dozen of other communities, which have
received no headlines and attracted no television coverage,
where desegregation is proceeding without major incident.
Desegregation is being accomplished in these communities by
individuals who believe that compliance with the law is the
American way and requires no fanfare.
The report also indicates that much work remains to be done
before equal educational opportunity can become a reality.
The Commission believes that the information contained in
this report will assist in clarifying the issues surrounding
school desegregation and will facilitate positive action by
those responsible for our children's education.
We urge your consideration of the facts presented in this
Arthur S. Flemming, Chairman
Stephen Horn, Vice Chairman
Frankie M. Freeman
Manuel Ruiz, Jr.
John A. Buggs, Staff Director
*Dr. Rankin, professor emeritus, Duke University, and member
of the Commission since 1960, died June 4, 1976, prior to
final action on this report.
FULFILLING THE LETTER AND SPIRIT OF THE LAW
Desegregation of the Nation's Public Schools
A Report of the United Statei
Commission on Civil Rights
U.S. COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is a temporary,
independent, bipartisan agency established by Congress in
1957 and directed to:
• Investigate complaints alleging that citizens are
being deprived of their right to vote by reason of
their race, color, religion, sex, or national
origin, or by reason of fraudulent practices;
• Study and collect information concerning legal
developments constituting a denial of equal
protection of the laws under the Constitution
because of race, color, religion, sex, or national
origin, or in the administration of justice;
• Appraise Federal laws and policies with respect to
equal protection of the laws because of race,
color, religion, sex, or national origin, or in
the administration of justice;
• Serve as a national clearinghouse for information
in respect to denials of equal protection of the
laws because of race, color, religion, sex, or
• Submit reports, findings, and recommendations to
the President and the Congress.
MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION
Arthur S. Flemming, Chairman
Stephen Horn, Vice Chairman
Frank ie M. Freeman
Robert S. Rankin *
Manuel Ruiz, Jr.
John A. Buags, Staff Director
*Dr. Rankin, professor emeritus, Duke University, and
member of the Commission since 1960, died June 4, 1976,
prior to final action on this report.
We welcome the opportunity in this bicentennial year to
present to the Nation a report on the desegregation of our
In 1776 the founders of our Nation, in the Declaration
of Independence, embraced the self-evident truths "that all
men are created equal, that they are endowed by their
Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these
are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." They
declared that the conditions under which they were living
were destructive of these ends. Therefore, for the support
of the Declaration, "with a firm reliance on the protection
of Divine Providence," they mutually pledged to each other
their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. The
implementation of that pledge gave to the world a new
Nation — a Nation which rests on the foundation of a
Constitution that has evolved in such a manner as to reflect
the "self-evident truths" of the Declaration.
Eighty-five years later Abraham Lincoln declared in
Philadelphia on his way to take the oath of office as
President that embodied in the Declaration of Independence
was that "which gave promise that in due time the weights
would be lifted from the shoulders of men and all should
have an equal chance." Some men and women were not being
given that equal chance. A civil war was fought. The
sacrifices of that war preserved us as a Nation dedicated to
implementing the "self-evident truths" of the Declaration
and the Constitution.
In 1976 our Nation can move from strength to strength
only as we apply to the conditions that confront us these
same "self-evident truths." Any retreat will deprive us of
the power that comes only to those who embrace the truth.
This is what the desegregation of our schools is all
about. The United States Supreme Court has found that
segregated schools constitute a denial of the "self-evident
truths" embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the
Constitution — a violation of the covenant that all should
have an equal chance.
The desegregation of our schools provides this
generation with one of the most significant opportunities
that has confronted any generation to demonstrate that the
Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are living
documents embodying truths for which persons once again
should be willing to make sacrifices.
The evidence set forth in this report leads to the
conclusion that many of our citizens are responding to this
opportunity. We know, after listening to testimony under
oath from approximately 500 citizens in Boston, Denver,
Tampa, and Louisville and examining evidence from 29 other
communities, that many are challenged by the moral and
constitutional issues that are involved in the desegregation
of our schools. They are making significant contributions
to the implementation of the lUth amendment to the
Constitition and, as a result, children and young persons in
their communities are being provided with an equal chance
that otherwise would be denied them. The rhetoric of the
Declaration of Independence and the Constitition is once
again being translated into action.
There is opposition to desegregation. Some do not
believe that all persons are created equal, are endowed with
certain unalienable rights, and should have an equal chance.
Some believe that the methods being employed to obtain
desegregation, such as the transportation of pupils, are so
objectionable that they should be abandoned. Once again the
Nation is experiencing sharp divisions growing out of
efforts to implement those "self-evident truths"
incorporated in both the Declaration of Independence and the
Cons ti tut i on .
We believe that the evidence contained in this report
demonstrates that the only way to bring the Nation together
on this issue is through a prompt, vigorous inplementation
of the constitutional right to equal educational
opportunity. Where this has been and is being done,
citizens discover that desegregation works. Their faith in
the truths on which our Nation was founded is renewed.
The bicentennial year must be more than a year of
celebration. It must also be a year of renewed commitment
to the truths embedded in the Declaration of Independence
and the Constitution. It must be a year when these renewed
commitments are reflected in actions.
Those who have enlisted and will enlist in the cause of
giving children and young persons an equal chance in the
field of education are making such a commitment. This
Commission salutes you. The results of some of your actions
are set forth in this report.
Our hope is that increasing numbers of our citizens in
this our bicentennial year "with a firm reliance on the
protection of Divine Providence" will pledge to do all
within their power to make the Declaration of Independence
and the Constitution living documents in the lives of
children and young people by giving them an equal chance for
The Commission is indebted to Emilio Abeyta, Karen
Arrington, Rodney Cash, James Corey, Suzanne Crowell, Linda
Dunn, Ernest Gerlach, Sally James, Margaret Johnson, Duane
Lindstrom, Jane O'Connell, Ulysses Prince, Everett Waldo,
Thomas Watson, Carole Williams, and John Williams, who wrote
this report under the direct supervision of Frank Knorr.
Appreciation is also extended to the following staff
members and former staff members who provided support and
assistance in the production of the report: Allison Adams,
James Arisman, Evelyn Avant, Mary Avant, Richard Avena,
Arvilla Baker-Pinkston, Mary Baltimore, Malcolm Bamett,
Dolores Bartning, Richard Blanchard, Brenda Blount, Norman
Bober, Eugene Bogen, Claudia Booker, Roberta Booker, Lucille
Boston, Victor Bracero, Diane Brewer, Joseph Brooks,
Claudette Brown, Jessalyn Bullock, Alice Burruss, Kathleen
Also, Gloria Cabrera, Aurora Carvajal, Patricia
Cheatham, Laura Chin, Ruth Cubero, Joanne Daniels, Edward
Darden, Henry Dawson, Grace Diaz, Diane Diggs, Bobby Doctor,
Frederick Dorsey, Richmond Doyle, John Dulles, Lucy Edwards,
Also, Antoinette Foster, Cynthia Freeman, Ruth Ford,
Reece Fullerton, Irene Garcia, Lawrence Glick, Ramona Godoy,
Elda Gordon, Marilyn Grayboff, Wallace Greene, Linda
Gresham, Martha Grey, David Grimm, Treola Grooms, Geary
Gunter, Edith Hammond, Joan Harper, Olga Harper, Joann
Harris, Deborah Harrison, Kenneth Harris ton.
Also, Jack Hartog, Ellen Haser, Vivian Hauser, Gloria
Hernandez, Rita Higgins, Diane Hiligh, Valeska Hinton, Wanda
Hoffman, Audree Holton, Peggy Hubble, Randy Hughes, Michael
Ishikawa, Gregg Jackson, Lorraine Jackson, Robert Jeffers,
Melvin Jenkins, Esther Johnson, Jeanette Johnson, Wanda
Johnson, Martha Jones, Norma Jones, Nancy Langworthy,
Cleveland Lee, Connie Lee, Sherry Lynn Lee.
Also, William Levis, Hester Lewis, Williams Lewis,
Joyce Long, James Lyons, Michele Macon, Rebecca Marrujo,
Frank Matthews, Carol McCabe, Carmelo Melendez, Delores
Miller, Alma Missouri, Philip Montez, Mary Moore, Grenda
Morris, Charles Mueller, Carol Murray, Thomas Neumann,
Gloria O'Leary, America Ortiz, David Pales, Maria Pares.
Also, Ruth Peete, Thomas Pilla, Martha Proctor, Natalie
Proctor, Pamela Proctor, Zenobia Purry, Linda Quinn, Portia
Raby, Carolyn Reid, Patricia Reynolds, Sharon Rivers, Clark
Roberts, Armando Rodriguez, Frederick Routh, Phyllis
Santangelo, Jacob Schlitt, Mark Schnieder, Marvin Schwartz,
Courtney Siceloff, Mark Simo, Deborah Snow, Joe Solis, Cathy
Somers, Eliot Stanley, Shirley Staton, Francis Steiner.
Also, Donald Stocks, Victoria Squier, Sandra Tangri,
Franklin Taylor, Ruthie Taylor, Eleanor Telemaque, Carlton
Terry, Naomi Tinsley, Aloen Townsend, Robert Turner,
Evangeline Urrutia, Norma Valle, Mardon Walker, Loretta
Ward, Patsi Washington, Veronica Washington, Vivian
Washington, Brenda Watts, Etta Wilkinson, Ada Williams,
Mayme Williams, Jacques Wilmore, Louis Wilmot, Candy Wilson,
and Shirley Hill Witt.
This study has also been provided vital assistance in
all its aspects by many members of State Advisory Committees
to the Commission in 2 8 of the States.
The report was prepared under the overall supervision
of John Hope III, Assistant Staff Director, Office of
Program and Policy Review. At the appointment of the Staff
Director of the Commission, all staff activities that
contributed to this report were under the general
supervision and coordination of William T. White, Jr.,
Assistant Staff Director, Office of National Civil Rights
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. Introduction 1
II. Recent Commission Initiatives 18
Scope and Methodology- 18
Boston, Massachusetts 25
Denver, Colorado 39
Hillsborough County (Tampa) , Florida 52
Jefferson County (Louisville) , Kentucky 65
Four Open Meetings
Berkeley, California 85
Minneapolis, Minnesota 91
Stamford, Connecticut 99
Corpus Christi, Texas 106
Summary and Analysis of 29 School Districts 112
National Survey 131
III. Experience with School Desegregation 168
The Role of Leadership 174
Preparation of the Community 191
Restructuring of School Districts 202
Desegregation and the Quality of Education 206
Minority Staff 222
Classroom Desegregation — 233
Extracurricular Activities— 241
Students Attitudes 246
Discipline in Desegregated Schools 255
IV. Summary and Conclusions 293
Four years after the Supreme Court of the United States
decision in Brown v. Board of Education, * the school bell
summoned America to the spectacle of screaming parents and
troops with bayonets at the ready, escorting nine black
students to Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.
"I tried to see a friendly face," declared Elizabeth
Eckford, one of the nine. "I looked into the face of an old
woman and it seemed friendly, but when I looked at her again
she spat on me." And then Elizabeth Eckford wept.
Her tears were but the prologue to a long drama of
struggle that is not yet over. The Nation is still
confronted with a basic question. That question has been
reworded at various times since 1954, but it remains
essentially the same: Are the Elizabeth Eckfords of this
country to be denied equality of educational opportunity
merely because many people oppose the remedies for
constitutional violations and subvert their implementation?
The Supreme Court answered this question in 1955 in Brown
II: "the vitality of these constitutional principles cannot
be allowed to yield simply because of disagreement with
them. "2 Twenty-one years later, the implementing doctrine
( Brown II ) providing equal protection of the laws to
minority children is under renewed and intense attack.
On July 10, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was
published in the Pennsylvania Gazette . In that same issue,
an advertisement also appeared offering a black slave for
sale. 3 Thus our Nation came into existence 200 years ago
with a serious flaw. The Constitution itself, as every
student of history knows, bore the telltale marks in its
first article, which apportioned representatives according
to the free population and "three-fifths of all other
Persons." For a short-lived period after the Civil War, the
13th, mth, and 15th amendments protected the rights of
black Americans. But the political compromise of 1877
effectively ended this era, and in 1896 the Supreme Court of
the United States sanctioned the second-class status of
blacks in the infamous Plessy v. Ferguson decision.*
By the early 1930s disparities in educational
expenditures were evident in the South. In Randolph County,
Georgia, $36.66 was expended annually for the education of
each white child, while only 43 cents was spent on each
black child. s Russell County, Alabama, spent $45.74 per
white child each year and only $2.55 per black.* The values
of educational facilities were similarly disproportionate.
In Upson County, Georgia, for every $1.00 of the declared
value of black schools, white schools were valued at
It was not until 1938 that the coxintry began the long
road to equality of educational opportunity. In that year,
the Supreme Court embarked on a series of decisions
attempting to enforce the "separate but equal" doctrine that
led inexorably to the tardy rejection of that bankrupt
In Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada (1938) ,^ a black
student sought entry to law school within his hone State.
The State in turn offered to pay his tuition at an out-of-
state institution. The Court held this offer to be "a
denial of the equality of legal right to the enjoyment of
the privilege which the State has set up... the provision for
the payment of tuition fees in another State does not remove
the discrimination. "9
In 19U8 another black applicant asserted that she was
entitled to a legal education at the University of Oklahoma
Law school. The state contended that local law allowed for
provision of a separate law school for blacks upon demand or
notice and that the applicant had not sought such relief.
In its decision in the case, Sipuel v. University of
Oklahoma , ^ o the Supreme Court recognized that the petitioner
could not be expected to wait for construction of a law
school before completing her education. The Court stated:
The petitioner is entitled to secure legal
education afforded by a State institution. To
this time, it has been denied her although during
the same period many white applicants have been
afforded legal education by the State. The State
must provide it for her in conformity with the
equal protection clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment and provide it as soon as it does for
applicants of any other group. i*
Oklahoma tried another tack with a black student
admitted to a State university graduate school. Under a new
law, the student was provided an education on a segregated
basis. He sat in a section of the classroom surrounded by a
rail with a sign reading "Reserved for Colored." He was
assigned one desk in the library and prohibited from using
any other, and was required to eat in the cafeteria at a
different time from all other students.
This arrangement did not satisfy the Court. It ruled
in McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents (1950) »2 that:
[T]he State, in administering the facilities it
affords for professional and graduate study, sits
McLaurin apart from the other students. The
result is that the appellant is handicapped in his
pursuit of effective graduate instruction. .. .There
is a vast difference — a Constitutional difference-
-between restrictions imposed by the State which
prohibit the commingling of students, and the
refusal of individuals to commingle where the
State presents no such bar....»3
On the same day the Court decided in Sweatt v.
Painter ^* that a new separate law school for blacks operated
by the State of Texas could not, in reality, provide equal
protection of the laws. In this case as well as in
McLaurin , the Court emphasized the "intangibles" that make
an educational institution equal: "Such qualities. . .include
the reputation of the faculty, experience of the
administration, position and influence of the alumni,
standing in the community, traditions and prestige...."*'
The Court added that the new black law school excluded 85
percent of the population from which were drawn most of the
lawyers, witnesses, jurors, judges, and other officials in
the State that a black lawyer would eventually encounter.
For this reason, the Court said, "We cannot conclude that
the education offered petitioner is substantially equal to
that which he would receive if admitted to the University of
Texas Law School."**
With the handwriting on the wall, the South launched a
crash program to build separate but "equal" schools for
blacks. But it was too late then to prove Plessy v.
Ferguson a possible answer to the requirements of the lUth
amendment. Four years later the Court declared that the
considerations enumerated in Sweatt and in McLaurin "apply
with added force to children in grade and high schools." The
verdict was in, and after Brown segregation was legally
doomed. Brown , however, was not the end of segregation so
much as the beginning of desegregation. The Court's work
was not over — the question of implementation remained.
In this regard, the Court gave to the lower Federal
courts the responsibility for dealing with specific plans
and problems, so that plaintiffs would be admitted to public
schools "on a racially nondiscriminatory basis with all
deliberate speed. "»'' "All deliberate speed" became the
catchword that spawned massive resistance as the South
deliberated but refused to desegregate. Ten years after
Brown , only 1.2 percent of the nearly 3 million black
students in the 1 1 Southern States attended school with
white students. »• The Court was forced to conclude in
Griffin v. County School Board of Prince Edward county (196U
Virginia) that "The time for mere 'deliberate speed' has run
Prince Edward county had tried to solve the segregation
problem by simply abolishing its public schools, but other
school districts found less dramatic ways temporarily to
circumvent the law. Chief among these was the "freedom of
choice" plan that ostensibly permitted students to select
the school they would attend. In practice, few chose to
transfer. The Court took on this issue in Green v. County
School Board of New Kent County (1968) ,20 ruling that such
plans were unacceptable where speedier and more effective
means were available. In addition, the Court stressed, "The
burden of a school board today is to come forward with a
plan that promises realistically to work, and promises
realistically to work now."2i This urgency was reiterated
the following year in Alexander v. Holmes County Board of
Education, 22 where the Supreme Court ordered the court of
appeals to "issue its decree and order, effective
immediately. ... "23
The techniques of desegregation became an issue again
in Swann v. Charlotte - Mecklenburg Board of Education
(1971) ,2* which became known as the first "busing" case.
Busing had been the way to more equitable educational
opportunity for millions of schoolchildren across the
country. Furthermore, children had been bused long
distances for decades to perpetuate segregation. But when
transportation for the purposes of desegregation was
decreed, busing suddenly became a national issue. The Court
held that a school desegregation plan was "to be judged by
its effectiveness"2 5 and that a plan might require student
transportation as long as "the time or distance of travel is
[not] so great as to either risk the health of the children
or significantly impinge on the educational process. "2*
At this point, the Court had not ruled on the future of
school systems in States where segregation had never been
the law but where segregated schools existed nevertheless.
In these States, such segregation was said to be de facto
rather than de jure . This distinction appeared before the
Court in the case of Keyes v. School District No. 1, Denver,
Colorado (1973) .27 The Court declared that "...where no
statutory dual system has ever existed, plaintiffs must
prove that it was brought about or maintained by intentional
State action. "28 This the plaintiffs had done, and the Court
thus ordered that desegregation proceed. Its decision meant
that countless northern school districts, guilty of such
practices as gerrymandering school zones, setting up
segregatory feeder systems, and assigning staff on a
racially discriminatory basis, would be faced with
correcting these violations of constitutional rights. But
it also meant that plaintiffs would have to present
convincing evidence of official action responsible for dual
school systems on a case-by-case basis.
The consequences of massive resistance by the South
need little repetition here. Schools were closed; State
funds were cut off; compulsory attendance laws were
suspended or repealed; private schools were opened with
tuition paid for whites by public funds. Long dead
constitutional doctrines were revived to buttress stalling
What has not been placed in proper perspective are the
actions of school districts in the North and West. There
official actions of school boards too frequently have
obstructed, delayed, and denied the minority student equal
protection of the law. The actions of governmental bodies
responsible for segregation have been ignored in the heated
debate over remedies.
A clear example is the city of Boston. It would be
totally misleading to examine the equity of the remedy
ordered in the Boston case, Morgan v. Hennigan (1974), 29
without considering the findings of the court. Yet this is
what many political leaders and media commentators have
done. The judge in this case, W. Arthur Garrity, Jr., laid
out the basis for his ruling in a meticulously documented
In the purchase and construction of new facilities, the
judge found "The overwhelming effect... has been to increase
racial segregation." In one situation, black children were
bused involuntarily to a more distant school when seats were
vacant at nearby white schools. ^o With regard to
districting. Judge Garrity wrote:
Year after year the defendants rejected proposals
for redistricting carefully drawn with a view to
lessening racial imbalance, while at all times
displaying an awareness of the potential racial
impact of their actions. 3 ^
One assistant superintendent testified at the trial of
the case that he opposed redistricting in one instance
"because he knew the attitude of the people in the area. "32
In another instance, the judge noted:
[The district] configuration results in nearly the
maximum possible amount of racial
isolation. .. .Only small sections of the district
lines coincide with natural boundaries. ... ^3
In Boston, the judge noted, assignment to a particular
high school is determined not by geography, but "by a
combination of seat assignments, preferences and options
collectively called feeder patterns. "3* Various elementary
and intermediate schools feed into high schools at various
grade levels depending on whether the high schools run from
grade 9 to 12 or 10 to 12. The judge concluded that these
feeder patterns "since. .. 1966. . .have been manipulated with
segregative effect. "35
Open enrollment, similar to the freedom-of -choice plans
so popular in the South, was another tool of the Boston
School Committee. "Open enrollment as administered by the
defendents," the judge said, "became a device for separating
the races and contributed significantly to the establishment
of a dual school system."'* Black parents sending their
children to predominantly white schools were chasing a will-
o'-the-wisp, since whites were free under the system to
transfer elsewhere when integration appeared imminent.
The court found that in the 1971-72 school year when
the student population in Boston schools was 96,000:
Approximately one-third of Boston's students, a
large majority of whom are in high school, use
buses or other public transportation to travel to
and from school. Approximately 3,000 elementary
students are transported at city expense, most of
whom attend schools over a mile away from their
homes. In Charlestown some elementary students
who live less than a mile from school are bused
for safety reasons. Other elementary students are
bused several miles, e.g., from the Dearborn
district in Roxbury to the North End and East
Boston; others from the South End to Brighton.
The three examination high schools, sometimes
called the "elite schools," were served in the
school year 1971-72 by a combined total of 63
buses on 35 routes. Many other students travel
between distant parts of the city.'^
Faculty and staff were racially separated as well,
despite the fact that their dispersal would not have
required busing. The judge found that "Black teachers are
segregated at black schools, ,. .Black administrators are also
segregated."'* Black schools more frequently were assigned
less experienced and less qualified teachers, and "the
defendants have for years 'gone through the motions' of
recruiting black teachers, but have never made a
wholehearted effort to get results.""
The school committee offered standard defenses: that
housing segregation led to the segregation found in the
schools, and that their policy of maintaining neighborhood
schools was constitutionally sound. ♦<> The plaintiffs pointed
out that school district assignments themselves can affect
housing patterns; that the school committee intentionally
incorporated residential segregation into the school system;
and that the committee policies were riddled with so many
exceptions designed to increase segregation that its
defenses need not be considered.**
The judge agreed, stating: "The defendents have, with
awareness of the racial segregation of Boston's
neighborhoods, deliberately incorporated that segregation
into the school system."* 2
It is for all these reasons that school desegregation,
implemented through student transportation, was ordered in
Boston. The basis in law is really no different from that
in Brown. The standard of proof has evolved, but the ruling
is still based on the official actions of a government body,
to wit: "....[T]he defendants have knowingly carried out a
systematic program of segregation affecting all of the
city's students, teachers, and school facilities and ...
maintained a dual school system. "♦'
In 1966 an attempt in the House of Representatives to
legitimize freedom-of-choice plans barely failed, by a vote
of 127 to 136. ♦♦ In a press ccxiference shortly after the
issuance of the Swann decision in 1971, President Nixon
indicated that the decision, which sanctioned the use of
busing in remedying de jure segregation, was the law of the
land and would be enforced by the executive branch. Soon
thereafter, the administration reversed its position and
announced it would not grant funds for court-ordered busing
under the Emergency School Assistance Program and proposed
that the Congress prohibit such funding in the future.**
In 1972 Congress wrangled over several antibusing
amendments to pending legislation and President Nixon
delivered a nationally televised address attacking "massive
busing" and announced that he was sending legislation to the
Congress designed to limit busing.** In 1974 President Ford
stated at a press conference that he thought the law should
be obeyed, but then went on to note that he had
"consistently opposed forced busing to achieve racial
balance as a solution to quality education."*^ More
recently, the President has proposed legislation that would
require the courts to limit the definition of illegal
segregation and to limit the extent and duration of busing
as a remedy. In addition. Attorney General Levi has
indicated that the Department of Justice may seek review by
the Supreme Court of certain aspects of busing, although the
issues he cited have already been considered and disposed of
by the courts. ♦«
The tragedy of these developments, and others discussed
later in this report, is that they undermine the
desegregation process in communities across the country.
And despite the publicity given to violence in Pontiac,
Boston, and Louisville, numerous communities have
implemented the law peacefully. Although largely ignored by
politicians and the national press, these communities
represent in many ways the real story of desegregation
Notes to Chapter 1
1. 347 U.S. 483 (1954) .
2. Brown v. Board of Education, 349 U.S. 294, at 300
3. Pennsylvania Gazette , No. 2481, July 10, 1776,
Philadelphia, Pa., p. 4.
4. 163 U.S. 537 (1896) .
5. Charles S. Johnson, Statistical Atlas of Southern
Counties (Chapel Hill; University of North Carolina, 1941),
6. Ibid., p. 52.
7. Ibid., p. 111.
8. 305 U.S. 337 (1938) .
9. 305 U.S. at 349. See Argument: The Complete Oral
Argument before the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of
Education of Topeka, 1952 - 55 , ed. Leon Friedman (New York:
Chelsea House Pijblishers, 1969), pp. xiv-xvii for a summary
of pre-Brown cases.
10. 332 U.S. 631 (1948) .
11. 332 U.S. at 632-33.
12. 339 U.S. 637 (1950) .
13. 339 U.S. at 641.
14. 339 U.S. 629 (1959) .
15. 339 U.S. at 634.
17. 349 U.S. 294 at 301 (1955).
18. U.S., Commission on Civil Rights, Twenty Years After
Brown ; Eguality of Educational Opportunity (1975) , p. 46.
19. 337 U.S. 218 at 23U (1964).
20. 391 U.S. U30 (1968) .
21. 391 U.S. at U39.
22. 396 U.S. 19 (1969) .
23. 396 U.S. at 20.
2H. a02 U.S. 1 (1971).
25. a02 U.S. at 25.
26. 402 U.S. at 30-31.
27. 413 U.S. 189 (1973) .
28. 413 U.S. at 198.
29. 379 F. Supp. 410 (D. Mass. 1974)
30. Id. at 428.
31. Id. at 433.
32. Id. at 438.
33. Id. at 435.
34. Id. at 441.
35. Id. at 442.
36. Id. at 453.
37. Id. at 424.
38. Id. at 459.'
39. Id. at 464.
40. Id. at 469.
41. Id. at 470.
U3. Id. at 482.
4U. Michael Wise, "Congress, Busing, and Federal Law,"
Civil Rights Digest , vol. 5, no. 5, p. 30.
45. Ibid., p. 31.
46. Ibid., pp. 31-33.
47. Press Documents , Oct. 11, 1974.
48. New York Times , May 30, 1976, p. 1.
II. RECENT COMMISSION INITIATIVES
SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY
The Commission on Civil Rights in recent years has been
increasingly concerned about the lack of accurate
information and understanding on school desegregation. This
problem, from the Commission's viewpoint, threatens further
progress in school desegregation and other areas of civil
rights as well. In November 1975 the Commission, therefore,
announced a series of projects to provide the Nation with a
national assessment of the school desegregation effort,*
These projects included formal hearings, open meetings, case
studies, and a national survey, the findings of which are
incorporated into this report. Other sources of information
for this report include: previous Commission studies on
desegregation or other school-related considerations; 2
publications by organizations such as the Southern Regional
Council; 3 and recent articles in periodicals, journals, and
newspapers. These various sources provided data for
analysis and also the views of key participants in the
desegregation of school districts throughout the country,
(See map 2.1,)
The school districts studied and surveyed during this
research were selected in order to provide a broad cross-
section of districts representing the entire spectrum of
views and experiences concerning school desegregation.
Those districts differ in many respects, such as the
original impetus for desegregation, the nature of public
reaction, the effectiveness of planning, the length of
experience with desegregation, and the general success or
ease with which desegregation has been implemented.
However, these projects have enabled the Commission to draw
conclusions about overall progress in desegregating the
Nation's schools and to identify factors that contribute to
The Commission held public hearings on school
desegregation in four major cities: Boston, June 16-20,
1975; Denver, February 17-19, 1976; Tampa, March 29-31,
1976; and Louisville, June m-16, 1976.
Each of the four hearings was preceded by intensive
staff investigation. A combined total of approximately
U,500 persons were interviewed for all four hearings. At
least 100 persons were subpenaed and testified under oath at
each hearing, including Federal, State, and local officials;
representatives of business, law enforcement, religious, and
other community groups, as well as higher education and the
media; school officials and personnel, including school
board members, administrators, and faculty; and parents and
students. The witnesses included persons of diverse racial
and ethnic groups, as well as persons with differing views
toward desegregation. In addition to the 100 or so
individuals scheduled to testify, there were between 10 and
15 unscheduled witnesses who testified at each hearing.
The hearings covered all aspects of desegregation,
ranging from the history of the first desegregation efforts,
through the manifold dynamics of the implementation process
in the schools and the broader community, to retrospective
evaluation of the actual effects of desegregation on the
schools as a public institution and on students, teachers,
and other individuals affected directly or indirectly. In
particular, inquiry was directed toward specific reasons why
desegregation had proceeded smoothly or had serious
difficulties. Certain topics also received more attention
at one hearing than at another. Thus the Boston and
Louisville hearings focused in more detail on the role of
the police during desegregation. The importance of
bilingual education in desegregating school districts
received much attention at the Denver and Tampa hearings.
Four State Advisory Committees (SACs) to the Commission
conducted four open meetings on school desegregation in 1976
in Berkeley, California, March 19-20; Minneapolis,
Minnesota, April 22-2U; Stamford, Connecticut, April 29; and
Corpus Christi, Texas, May 4-5.*
Preparations for the meetings and the scope of
testimony resembled that of the public hearings. However,
Advisory Committees do not have subpena power and testimony
was not taken under oath. Approximately 50 persons spoke at
each open meeting. Detailed evaluations and analyses of
these meetings were prepared by the State Advisory
Committees and the Commission's regional offices in Los
Angeles, Chicago, New York, and San Antonio.
In February, March, and April 1976, 28 of the
Commission's State Advisory Committees, with staff
assistance from the eight regional offices, conducted 29
case studies of school desegregation. Four studies covered
the four cities where Advisory Committee meetings were held.
Table 2. 1 shows the communities studied by State and
These districts are of varying size and racial-ethnic
composition. All had a student enrollment of at least
1,500, of which at least 5 percent were minority students.
Some had desegregated voluntarily while others desegregated
under Federal or State pressure or a court order. At least
10 percent of the students in each district were reassigned
during desegregation, and transportation was included in all
desegregation plans. The sample included both rural and
urban districts with varying years of experience with
desegregation. Some districts had desegregated with minimal
difficulty and some had experienced considerable problems.
Commission staff and Advisory Committee members
conducted personal interviews in each district with mayors,
city council members, and law enforcement authorities;
community leaders; school officials and personnel; parents
and students; and media representatives. Standardized
guides were used for both onsite and telephone interviews to
elicit information about the individual's own role in
desegregation, as well as his or her perceptions of events
and the role played by others during desegregation. They
also were designed to elicit personal judgments about the
effectiveness of desegregation in their communities and the
overall effect of desegregation on the schools and
communities. In addition to these interviews. Advisory
Committee members and regional staff collected data and
reports pertinent to desegregation in each district. The
Commission's regional offices analyzed and summarized the
results of this research and submitted them to Washington
for further evaluation.
In late January 1976 the Commission mailed
questionnaires to individuals in a randomized sample of
approximately 1,300 school districts. These individuals
included school superintendents, heads of local chambers of
commerce, parent advisory councils, and local chapters of
the National Association for the Advancement of Colored
People (NAACP) , and mayors or city managers. The districts
included the 100 largest in the Nation, and approximately 47
percent of districts which had pupil enrollments of at least
1,500 and were at least 5 percent minority.
Information was sought on the stimulus for
desegregation, the nature of the desegregation plan
implemented, and the outcome of desegregation. The
variables used for assessment were the perceived support for
desegregation by community leaders and groups, the degree of
disruption of the educational process during desegregation,
and the perceived quality of education. The survey also
sought to examine the withdrawal of whites from school
systems in response to desegregation. Superintendents were
asked about the activities of any multiracial or multiethnic
committees, student suspension levels, and building
improvements incident to desegregation. All those surveyed
were asked about the extent and cost of pupil
transportation, the role and attitudes of various community
groups before and after desegregation, the quality of
education, student retention and achievement, and
interaction among pupils of different races or ethnic
groups. Usable responses were received from about 76
percent of the superintendents and 20 percent of the
community leaders. Some responses were obtained by
Massachusetts was the first State in the Nation to
enact a school desegregation law, the Racial Imbalance Act
of 1965.5 Under the law, any school with a nonwhite
enrollment of more than 50 percent was "imbalanced," and
strong sanctions were available against any school district
that failed to correct such imbalance. The act did not
require integration of all-white schools; it prohibited
involuntary, inter district transportation; and its
compliance guidelines were vague, opening avenues for
procrastination and evasion which the Boston School
Committee used fully.
Case Study Communities by State and Commission Region
Northeast Regional Office
Ossining, New York
Providence, Rhode Island
Mid-Western Regional Office
Mid-Atlantic Regional Office
Newport News, Virginia
Dorchester County, Maryland
Raleigh County, West Virginia
Southern Regional Office
Mountain States Regional Office
Ogden , Utah
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Southwestern Regional Office
Williamsburg County, South
Little Rock, Arkansas
Corpus Christi, Texas**
Central States Regional Office Western Regional Office
Santa Barbara, California
** Indicates school district in which Advisory Committee
open meetings were held.
The city of Boston has a population of approximately
611,000 people, many of whom live in neighborhoods with
strong ethnic identities. Its black population is
approximately 17 percent of the total and its student
population is 34 percent black and 6 percent Hispanic. In
1973, 85 percent of black public school students attended
schools that were more than 50 percent minority; 5U percent
attended schools that were 90 to 100 percent minority.*
The Boston School Committee, which formulates policy
for city public schools, proved unrelenting in its
opposition to school desegregation. For 8 years following
passage of the Racial Imbalance Act, State education
authorities were unsuccessful in their efforts to compel the
Boston School Committee to desegregate at least a
substantial portion of its schools. Several State agencies
became involved, including the State department of education
and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.
Suits and counter suits were filed in State courts. By 1971,
however, Boston's public schools were more segregated than
The Federal Government became involved for the first
time in 1971 when the Department of Health, Education, and
Welfare wrote to the Boston School Committee charging
discrimination in certain educational programs. Two years
later HEW threatened to cut off all Federal education funds
to the city.*
In March 1972 the local chapter of the NAACP filed suit
in Federal district court, alleging government
discrimination in creating and maintaining a segregated
public school system. In June 197U the Federal district
court in Boston rejected the school committee's defense that
housing patterns were responsible for school segregation.
The court found that the school committee had
unconstitutionally fostered and maintained a segregated
public school system through policies which had been
"knowingly" designed to that end.^ As a result of these
policies, the court found, racial segregation permeated
schools "in all areas in the city, all grade levels, and all
types of schools. "»o The court also observed that the school
committee had thwarted school desegregation efforts of
Massachusetts authorities, including the State supreme
court, by "formalistic compliance followed by
procrastination and evasion on technical grounds."**
The court ordered desegregation to begin in September
197U. The plan for desegregation involved two phases.
Phase I, implemented in September 197U, used redistricting
and pupil transportation to desegregate 80 of the city's
approximately 200 schools. Phase II, implemented in
September 1975, involved all remaining schools, except those
in east Boston. Revision of attendance zones and grade
structures, construction of new schools and the closing of
old ones, and a controlled transfer policy with limited
exceptions were used to minimize further pupil
Implementation of Phase I was accompanied by mob
violence and boycotts in some areas of the city, the worst
such incidents to occur during school desegregation in a
northern city. In October 1974 Mayor Kevin White expressed
concern about his ability to "maintain either the appearance
or the reality of public safety" during desegregation in
some parts of Boston, ^^ but order was generally established.
In June 1975 the Commission on Civil Rights held a 5-
day hearing in Boston and heard testimony from more than 100
subpenaed witnesses, including Federal, State, and local
officials, community leaders, school staff, and students.
From this testimony and research conducted in connection
with the hearing, the Commission gained significant insight
into the desegregation process in Boston.
The publicity surrounding opposition to desegregation
in Boston overshadowed the fact that major problems occurred
at only four of the schools desegregated in 1974. Violence
was severe at only two. South Boston and Hyde Park High
Schools. The desegregation process proceeded smoothly at
the great majority of schools affected by Phase I, and the
groundwork was laid for even more progress the following
At the Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Roxbury, for
example, many faculty and students viewed desegregation and
the school year generally as a success, Burke teacher
Joseph Day testified:
...the kids by October realized if they didn't do
their work and weren't going to study, they were
going to fail.... There was a lot of education, a
lot of learning, a lot of teaching going on in the
building, and the kids realized it. »'
Burke student Jan Douglas told the Commission:
At first. . .everybody was kind of scared because no
one had really talked to each other to know where
each other stood. Everybody was kind of walking
around each other. And as the year progressed, we
talked and we got to understanding, and we found a
common ground. .. .That we had all come to Jerry
[Burke] for one thing, and that was to get a
quality education and that in doing so, we would
do it together.**
The testimony of other witnesses, however, revealed
that school desegregation in Boston was seriously hampered
by virtually a total lack of public and private leadership.
The city's elected officials refused to express support for
the court order or for the goal of school desegregation.
The school committee's position was one of determined,
unrelenting opposition to desegregation. It had fought
school desegregation from the beginning, and it refused any
affirmative support for peaceful implementation of school
The chairman of the Boston School Committee stated:
...For my part, I will not go any further than
doing what Judge Garrity directly orders me to do.
And I will not end up as a salesman for a plan
which I do not believe in.i^
A member said:
It would appear that we have exhausted some of our
legal remedies. I think we still have — at least
on the implementation process--some appeals.
My instruction, and of course I am only one vote,
to appeal every word that comes out of Garrity's
So hopefully, somewhere along the line we can get
some relief, because this order is just a
destruction of the city.... is
The picture that emerged in 5 days of testimony was of an
elected body so belligerent* » and so derelict in its duties
that the Commission recommended that the court consider
suspending the school committee's authority and placing the
school system in receivership, a step that was partially
taken by Judge Garrity in connection with Phase II of the
court's desegregation order.
The records of other public officials — some of whom
openly associated themselves with the "antibusing"
organization, "Restore Our Alienated Rights" (ROAR) --were
little better. City council members stongly opposed the
court order, 2 and several State legislators from Boston
introduced legislation to repeal the State's Racial
Imbalance Act. The mayor's position on desegregation was
equivocal, and on the national level, the lack of leadership
extended to the White House. In October 1974 the President
issued a public statement critical of the court order.
According to Thomas Atkins, president of the Boston
...those kinds of hopes [that a desegregation
order would be reversed] were fed by
statements. .. such as the one by the President
when... he indicated disagreement with... the order
of the Federal Court.... 21
The posture of elected officials reinforced the belief
of many individuals that desegregation, which had been
successfully avoided for 10 years, would never come about.
Rabbi Roland Gittelson said:
I'm very fearful that there will be increased
tension and aggravation so long as the members of
the Boston School Committee and many political
leaders continue to make the whole desegregation
problem a political football for their own
political ambitions. ... 22
The absence of leadership involved all sectors of the
city. Business leaders were generally passive, in part
because of the mayor's position. Relatively few of the
clergy provided strong moral leadership. Many social and
community service agencies also adopted neutral positions
toward school desegregation. South Boston community groups,
for example, neither assisted nor supported implementation
of Phase I. This default at the community level, combined
with the lack of guidance or leadership from city leaders,
damaged the educational process in Boston.
Testimony made plain that the principal leadership for
desegregation in Boston came from the U.S. district court.
The court did not seek or arbitrarily seize that role. It
was forced upon the court because, as Thomas Atkins, local
NAACP leader, observed:
The mayor [Kevin White] from time to time has
refused to lead and has tried to hide. The
Governor, this one [Michael Dukakis] and the last
one, [Francis Sargent] from time to time has tried
to say it's the mayor's problem, it's the judge's
problem, it's anybody's problem; it's not my
problem. 2 3
Moreover, Judge W. Arthur Garrity, Jr. , in his
desegregation order was careful not to raise unreasonable
administrative problems for the school system. Student
transportation was held to a minimum, and the percentage of
total enrollment transported increased by only 17 percentage
points after desegregation. 2* Further, court-ordered bus
rides were short, a fact that, in part, reflects the
geographical compactness of Boston. 2 s
Lack of leadership was also evident in the near total
absence of effective planning for desegregation. Strong
criticism was expressed of the "ill-defined low visibility
policy" of the Boston Police Department and its lack of a
"detailed master plan" for maintaining order during
desegregation. 2 6 Black community leader Elma Lewis described
the effect of this failure in South Boston:
One of the most disenchanting experiences [our
chilc|ren] had was the day that they were set upon
in South Boston High and the police expressed an
inability to bring them out safely and they got
out only by luck.... 2 7
The situation became so dangerous that State police and
Metropolitan District Commission police were called in to
assist the Boston police.
Haphazard planning also typified the school
administration's response to the court order. Desegregation
training and guidelines for faculty were minimal. No effort
was made to involve the communities affected by Phase I, nor
was any effort made to promote student attendance. A sharp
increase in the suspension rate of black students occurred.
One data analyst found the great disparity between white and
black suspension rates to be "systematically related to
At the few schools where strong, conscientious
administrators prepared effectively for desegregation,
difficulties were minor. At Roslindale High School, for
example, curriculum content was reviewed, and the social
studies program was changed to deal with race relations and
the background to school desegregation. An ethnic studies
course was planned for Phase II. 2 » Roslindale teachers also
visited the 30 schools sending students to Roslindale under
the desegregation plan.'" Strong community support was
another "key factor" contributing to relatively successful
implementation of desegregation at Roslindale, '»
Phase II of the desegregation effort provided a basis
for improving the overall quality of education in Boston. A
key feature of Phase II was the linking of various city
schools with business and higher education institutions,
labor organizations, and the arts. Local colleges and
universities offered needed resources in the development of
reading and communication skills, cross-cultural relations,
mathematics and science, counseling, teacher training,
preventive health care and health-related problems, social
work, and many other areas.
As the court noted:
The significance of this pairing effort is as a
long-term commitment, a promise to the parents and
students of Boston that these institutions, with
their rich educational resources, are concerning
themselves in a direct way with the quality of
education in the public schools.'*
Phase II also was designed to provide greater parental
and community involvement in school affairs. A Citywide
Coordinating Council, consisting of 42 citizens of varying
opinions regarding desegregation, was assigned a monitoring,
coordinating, and informational role in Boston school
desegregation. The mayor's key aide for school
desegregation, Peter Meade, expressed the hope that the
council would fill the leadership "vacuum" in Boston. ^3
Biracial parent and student councils at various schools were
to serve as adjuncts to the council. Jim O* Sullivan, a
South Boston parent who had served as a member of one
biracial council, told the Commissioners: "if we could have
half the success that the South Boston-Roxb\iry biracial
council had, I think we will make great strides in getting
quality education into the city of Boston this coming
The Commissioners heard testimony concerning other
problems in Boston's schools, such as absence of black
faculty, administrators, custodial persons, and attendance
officers, 3 5 and rundown conditions of some schools, such as
South Boston High School. A 1940 graduate of South Boston
High told the Commissioners he was "shocked and ashamed" at
the "appalling condition" of the school as Phase I began. ^6
It is clear, however, that some courageous leaders have
resisted the prevailing winds of opposition. The black
community provided many of these individuals. There have
been instances of effective planning, notably by the deputy
mayor with respect to public safety and neighborhood
services, as well as by some individual school
administrators. In addition, some police units, such as the
State police, performed in a thoroughly professional and
effective manner. Despite the failures described during 5
days of testimony, ample evidence was heard that
desegregation had proceeded smoothly at the great majority
of schools during Phase I, and that further progress in
Phase II was likely, particularly if the school committee
would begin to provide the positive and creative leadership
the school system so badly needs.
Although a review of the 1975-76 school year indicates
that the school committee and Mayor White have been
criticized for failing to provide leadership to promote
desegregation, 3 7 phase II can be characterized as showing
greater stabilization within the school system. A few minor
incidents were reported in the spring of 1976, but
conditions at previously troubled schools, such as Hyde Park
High3 8 and South Boston High, 3* reportedly had improved and
tension had diminished. The Mayor's Committee on Violence*o
found that 150 out of 165 schools were "working well."*»
School administrators expressed optimism over further
progress under Phase II as a result of the refusal of the
Attorney General of the United States to intervene in the
appeal of Judge Garrity's Phase II order before the Supreme
Court of the United States, and the Court's refusal to
review four appeals of that order. They were pleased with
increased involvement in the schools and improved
administrative procedures in such areas as security.* 2
Although a disproportionate number of black students
continue to be suspended, the percentage has decreased. ♦^
The executive director of the Boston chapter of the NAACP
observed that opposition to desegregation and student
transportation had shifted to concern over the quality of
From the Boston hearing and more current sources,
several findings are evident concerning the desegregation
process in Boston:
1. A virtual total lack of support for court
desegregation orders by public and private leaders,
especially the mayor, city council members, and those in
business, reinforced the opposition view that desegregation
would never come to pass.
2. President Ford's and Mayor White's equivocal public
comments on the order of the Federal district court served
to bolster opponents of school desegregation.
3. Because of the Boston School Committee's position
of unyielding opposition to desegregation and its minimal
compliance with the Federal district court order, the court
was forced to implement its decision to desegregate through
a series of detailed orders formulating educational policy
and directing the administrative process.
H. Despite serious deficiencies in the planning and
actions of the local police and Boston School Committee and
sensationalized reporting of violence in South Boston by the
national media, the overwhelming majority of schools in
Boston which desegregated did so without difficulty.
Significantly, the local news media, visual as well as
written, provided balanced coverage of Phase I.
School desegregation in Denver has involved nearly two
decades of organized community activity. As early as the
late 1950s, individuals in the Park Hill section of the city
organized to fight the growing segregation of neighborhood
Growing steadily since the 1950s, Denver is the major
city of the Rocky Mountain region, with an economic base
largely in professional services, trade, and public
administration. It houses a considerable number of offices
for agencies of the Federal Government.
The city's population is slightly over half a million,
and 19 75 estimates of the minority population indicate that
more than 20 percent are Hispanic and about 12 percent are
black.** Asian Americans and American Indians account for
about 3 percent of the minority population. The student
population of Denver's 122 public schools has a higher
percentage of minorities than the general population,
roughly 50 percent white, 27 percent Hispanic, and 19
percent black. ♦^
School District No. 1 and the city and county of Denver
have the same geographical boundaries, but fiscally and
politically, the school district is independent of the city.
It is governed by a seven-member board of education elected
for staggered 6-year terms. The membership and ideology of
the • board of education has been in constant flux since the
mid-1960s when school desegregation became a serious issue
Concern over segregation developed over a period of
many years as the community witnessed the various techniques
by which the school board and administration manipulated the
distribution of students. Mobile classrooms were used to
increase pupil capacity at black schools instead of
assigning students to underutilized white schools. As the
minority population increased and residential patterns
changed, attendance zones were changed and new schools were
located in such a way as to contain blacks and continue the
segregated education of black children. The exasperation of
the community increased when the school board failed to
respond to reports and recommendations submitted in 1962 and
196 9 by the board's own citizens' committees assigned to
study equality of educational opportunity.*"
Community pressure for action reached a peak following
the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King on April 5,
1968. On the night of April 25, thousands of citizens
attended a public school board meeting where Rachel Noel,
the first black school board member, introduced a resolution
instructing the school superintendent to submit an
integration plan by the following September. The Noel
resolution was passed at a subsequent meeting by a vote of 5
Three resolutions the following spring provided
concrete measures to alleviate school segregation. However,
a school board election was held shortly thereafter which
brought two new antidesegregation candidates to the board,
and the first action of the new board was to rescind these
resolutions, bringing to an end 10 years of cumulative
effort to desegregate the schools. 'o
On June 19, 1969, eight Denver schoolchildren and their
parents filed suit, initiating nearly 6 years of litigation
that would include two appeals to the United states Supreme
Court, '1 In its first major desegregation decision outside
the South, the Supreme Court ruled in June 1973 that the
school board's segregative acts in one part of the city
could require systemwide remedies. The Court also held that
"Negroes and Hispanos in Denver suffer identical
discrimination in treatment when compared with the treatment
afforded Anglo students, "sz In April 1974 the Federal
District Court for Colorado issued its final decree ordering
desegregation of the Denver public school system. Both
plaintiffs and defendants again appealed to the Supreme
Court, and in January 1976 the Court declined to review the
The U,S, commission on Civil Rights held a 3-day
hearing in Denver in February 1976 to examine closely all
elements of the city's school desegregation efforts. More
than 120 witnesses Federal, State, and local officials;
school administrators and staff; community leaders; parents
and students — provided testimony on desegregation as they
told the overall story.
Witnesses gave various opinions about expending so much
time and money on lengthy court battles and appeals. Mrs.
Noel told the Commission she considered the suit a necessity
because "there was no real commitment. . .no real firm
movement in the direction [of desegregation] until the suit
was filed. "5* From a different perspective. School
Superintendent Louis Kishkunas saw the process as "a
necessary exercise to achieve whatever success we may
achieve here." He said he thought the school district had
been unduly criticized for appealing the case so vigorously,
but the Supreme Court decision had removed all doubt about
the issue. ss
For successfully implementing "an unpopular court
order," the superintendent credited the community for
maturity and the staff for professionalism. He praised the
school board for directing the use of "all available means
at their disposal for an orderly and humane implementation
of the orders of the district court so long as the order
remains in effect. "56
Other testimony, however, did not credit either the
board or the school administration with more than minimal
compliance, characterized by footdragging and inconsistent
leadership. Several witnesses agreed with Katherine Schomp,
a school board member whose assessment was that the board
has been unable or slow to act on problems incident to
desegregation and has contributed few ideas or programs to
the educational improvement of schools. S7 she listed some
The practice of blaming every problem in the
schools on the desegregation order... A refusal to
devote sufficient resources of personnel, time,
and money to... deal positively and humanely with
integration. A refusal to establish some kind of
communication with the Community Education
Council, thus failing to take advantage of a
tremendous community resource. se
The Community Education Council was named frequently as
the most significant source of leadership in implementation
of the court order. The council, created by the district
court, was composed of UO community leaders. Its chairman,
Maurice Mitchell, chancellor of the University of Denver and
a former Commissioner of the U.S. Commission on Civil
The judge created a committee of citizens, not
policemen or lawyers to sit around and nitpick his
decision endlessly, but a committee of citizens
and asked them to tell him how to make the decree
work better. 5 9
The council played a key role in educating the
community on the constitutional requirements of the desegre-
gation order. Its members also worked within the schools.
monitoring the process and keeping the court well apprised
of the implementation of the order.
The superintendent opposed creation of the council and
sought to reduce its monitoring role because he "didn't
agree with the necessity of having such a commission or
someone looking over our shoulder."*© However, the council
received consistent support from the court and was able to
work well with school personnel, particularly at the
The positive leadership of principals who believed that
integration would work was also repeatedly credited for the
overall smoothness of Denver's desegregation. Catherine
Crandall, president of the Parents, Teachers, and Students
Schools that had good administrative leadership
were able to correspond better with the teachers
within the school building, who were then able to
transmit their feelings to the students and
parents .... They could [ then ] proceed on a much
more harmonious basis ....*»
Many witnesses told the Commission that widespread and
continued involvement of citizens was the major reason for
the absence of violence and hostility that desegregation
decrees have met in other cities. Mentioned frequently as a
highly successful example of citizen action was an
organization called PLUS (People Let's Unite for Schools).
This coalition of 49 organizations was created in April 197U
to promote the principles of obedience to the law, safety
for all schoolchildren, and excellence of education in
Leaders of the religious community in Denver, through
ecumenical efforts of the Council of Churches and individual
participation in PLUS, also were an active moral force
supporting peaceful school desegregation. Melvin Wheatly,
Methodist Bishop of Denver, testified:
We communicated with all of our clergy from the
beginning of the plan... that our position [for the
integration of schools] is unequivocal. . .part of
the design that we interpret as God's will.*2
Bishop George Evans of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese
of Denver said that a directive was sent to Catholic
parishes "alerting them... that Catholic schools are
dedicated to the principles which are at the heart of
democracy and in no way would be a haven for those trying to
flee the law. "63
The Denver Chamber of Commerce, the Denver Commission
on Community Relations, and many public officials worked
individually, with community groups, and with District Court
Judge William Doyle urging "community support for the
acceptance and good faith implementation of the court
order."** The mayor and police chief early issued statements
urging peaceful implementation of the school desegregation
witnesses agreed that the media was cooperative, fair,
balanced, and responsible in its coverage throughout the
desegregation process.** Except for the efforts of
individual faculty members, institutions of higher learning
in the Denver area were criticized as indifferent to "the
leadership role that they are both capable of... and have a
responsibility" to exercise. ••
The best assessment of the effects of desegregation was
given by those whose lives are most affected, students,
parents, and teachers. Several teachers testified that, in
general, policies which have advanced school desegregation
also have a beneficial effect on other aspects of the
educational process, including academic achievement.
Included were comments such as: "the desegregation process
brought a new atmosphere. . .new enthusiam for learning," "the
level of parental involvement has improved,"
"attendance. . .attitude. . .has improved. .. school has come
Rex Jennings, president of the Chamber of Commerce,
described the desegregation experience of his son, a high
.. .academically. . .the process has had no
[negative] influence. .. integration of that school
has had a very meaningful influence upon his
having a better understanding of human nature and
gaining a new appreciation for people of minority
races. . . . *«
Radio executive Gene Amole said the experience for his
daughter had been "an enrichment. . .a very positive aspect"
of desegregation.*' Another parent, Richard Nuechterlein,
said it was a "positive experience for our family and for
the neighborhood . " 7 o
Ted Conover, a high school senior, said that tension
had existed the first few weeks after desegregation, but "in
time everybody adjusted and settled down." He added:
It's been a positive experience for me and. ..for
the people who stuck it out and really tried to
make something of the school.... Integration puts
^ lot of people through a lot of personal, family,
and individual changes, but with the proper
preparation and positive attitude. . .it can be a
very worthwhile experience."'*
Witnesses representing the Hispanic community testified
that despite some real gains toward a desegregated system,
they remained concerned about ethnic discrimination,
cultural isolation, the failure to provide quality education
for language-minority groups, and the lack of affirmative
action for Hispanos. Chancellor Mitchell, chairman of the
Community Education Council, agreed:
...the question of how they have been dealt with
and how they have fared with this decree and how
they should expect to be treated by the school
district and by the citizens of this community
[is] one... of the loose ends that has never really
been tied up. ^2
The issue of bilingual-bicultural education received
considerable attention at the hearing as it had in the Keyes
litigation. Several witnesses testified that school
officials have shovm no enthusiasm for bilingual-bicultural
programs although Hispanic students are the largest minority
group in Denver's schools.
A school board member criticized those who refer to
bilingual-bicultural education as a "problem" saying, "28
percent of our children are Hispano and have Hispano
heritage. . .[this] should not be a problem but an advantage
and something of which we should be taking advantage
constantly in this school system. "^ 3
School officials contended that, in response to the
demands from the Hispanic community, they have instituted
various programs which meet the language and cultural needs
of the children, and an expanded program is being developed
for 10 more schools pursuant to Colorado's Bilingual and
Bicultural Education Act of 1975. "'^ Hispanic community
leaders and educational experts, however, remain extremely
critical of the system's "ineffective, fumbling, weak, and
inadequate effort."^* The records of the Community Education
Council's bilingual-bicultural committee show "a steady
stream of complaints about the lack of a viable program"''*
and positive suggestions offered by the council have not
been put into effect.
More aggressive recruitment of Hispano teachers and
real affirmative action at the classroom as well as the
administrative level were mentioned repeatedly as major
needs of Hispano students. According to Jim Esquibel,
former president of the Congress of Hispano Educators, the
Denver school system has failed for years to respond to this
Minorities in Denver appear to look to the future with
cautious optimism. They agree that constant vigilance and
monitoring of the system are necessary, as Lt. Gov. George
L. Brown suggested:
I don't trust the system to do the things that are
right... if they are not examined thoroughly and
continually. . .they will easily fall back and adopt
the practices and procedures of that portion of
our community which doesn't believe in. . .equality
of opportxmity. . . ■'•
Many individuals agree, too, that continued progress
rests, as it has throughout the desegregation process, with
continued citizen involvement in the total educational
process. Jean Emery, chairperson of the monitoring
committee of the Community Education Council, said, "to have
the commtmity in the schools is hopefully a never-ending
It is apparent from a summary of the preceding
1. Leadership provided by a citizens' advisory
council, established and supported by the court, and
coordinated activity by a well-integrated coalition of
community organizations helped school desegregation to
proceed in a generally smooth and orderly fashion. Other
groups which contributed to the successful implementation of
desegregation include the religious community, the media,
and principals at a number of schools.
2. Opposition to desegregation by the school
superintendent and the school board slowed the desegregation
process. The administration offered no new ideas or
programs to achieve desegregation and in most instances
refused to cooperate with the court-appointed citizens'
3. Throughout the desegregation process the local
media, by and large, assumed a responsible posture toward
desegregation. It refrained from sensationalizing school
desegregation events; presented valuable information to the
public; and reported in a fair, balanced, and responsible
U. Although the district established bilingual-
bicultural programs for its large Mexican American school
population, these programs have been inadeqxjate. Advice
from the Hispanic community and educational leaders appears
to have been consistently ignored, few bilingual teachers
have been hired, and adequate plans for the aggressive and
affirmative recruitment of bilingual staff have not been
Hillsborough County (Tampa) , Florida
Situated halfway down the western coast of Florida on
Tampa Bay, Hillsborough is one of two counties comprising
the Tampa-St. Petersburg Standard Metropolitan Statistical
Area, the second largest SMSA in Florida. "o Processing a
high degree of industrialization compared to the rest of the
State, Hillsborough County has rural and agricultural as
well as urban and suburban characteristics. At the time of
the 1970 census, the county had a population of 490,265,
13.6 percent of which was black and 10.1 percent of Spanish
origin. «» By 1975 the population had grown to an estimated
632,500 persons. 82 Tampa, the county's principal city, had
a population of 277,748 in 1970 and an estimated 297,500 in
1975.83 Blacks constituted 54,831 or 19.7 percent and
Spanish- language persons numbered 40,349 or 14.5 percent of
the total in 1970.8*
Hillsborough County has one school system whose
boundaries are the same as those of the county, ss The
Nation's 22d largest public school system, it has approxi-
mately 115,000 students attending 91 elementary schools, 26
junior highs, 11 senior highs, and 1 school for the educable
mentally handicapped. Of these schools, 66 are within the
city limits. Black students number 21,376 (18.1 percent)
and Hispanic students number 5,662, constituting 4.9 percent
of the total as of October 1975.^6
The desegregation plan under which the Hillsborough
County school system currently operates resulted from a suit
filed by black parents in the U.S. District Court for the
Middle District of Florida on December 12, 1958.*^
Specifically, the complaint alleged that 72 schools were
limited to whites only and 18 schools were limited to blacks
who were often required to travel up to 10 miles one way
past closer white schools to attend a black school. ■• When
the suit finally came to trial in 1961, the court found for
the plaintiffs and accepted a freedom-of -choice
desegregation plan submitted by the Hillsborough School
Board. This plan also contained a provision for year-by-
year dissolution of separate attendance areas beginning with
the first grade in the 1963-6a school year.««
In 1968 plaintiffs returned to court contending that
the plan had failed to desegregate the schools. There
ensued a series of court orders and proposed plans, con-
cluding with a plan adopted in August 1969 that provided,
among other things, for assignment of students in every
school on the basis of geographic attendance areas beginning
in the 1969-70 school year.'o
Finding the plan deficient, the Court of Appeals for
the Fifth Circuit ordered (1) utilization of a variety of
desegregation techniques, including strict neighborhood
assignment, pairing, and redrawing school zone lines; •* and
(2) retention of jurisdiction by the district court until it
was clear that State-imposed segregation had been completely
eradicated. Reopening the case by its own motion in May
1971 following the Swann v. Charlotte - Mecklenburg decision,
the court ordered the school board to submit a plan tailored
to specific terms. The resulting plan, which the court
accepted and which remains in effect today, provided for
desegregation of most of the county's 89 elementary schools
by clustering, with the previously black schools becoming
sixth grade centers. The 23 junior highs and 3 junior-
senior high schools were desegregated by clustering and
satellite zoning. The white senior high schools retained
their 10-12 grade structure and the black senior high
schools were converted to different grade levels. '2
In 1972 and again in 1973, Commission staff visited
Hillsborough County to observe and report on the
desegregation process. '^ in March 1976 the Commission
returned to Hillsborough to conduct a 3-day hearing at which
witnesses testified about the school desegregation
There was a consensus among witnesses that the
comprehensive desegregation plan developed pursuant to the
court order of May 11, 1971, was implemented smoothly.
Hearing witnesses collectively cited niomerous reasons for
this, but two factors stood above all others. One was the
broad range of community involvement sought by the school
system in developing the plan. A 150-member Citizens
Desegregation Committee was organized, consisting of a
complete cross-section of people from all walks of life
representing all geographical areas and ethnic, racial, and
religious backgrounds .' s Explaining the reasoning behind
this policy of broad inclusion, school administrator E.L.
It appeared to us that if we in Hillsborough
County were to come up with a plan that was going
to really be effective and accepted by the public
and had assurances of some built-in chance of
success in terms of implementation, then we really
needed to put the problem back where the problem
really existed, and that is with the people
because the schools belong to the people. »•
The second paramount factor was the positive role
played by various leadership elements within the school
system and in the community at large.
The Hillsborough County School Board set the tone for
peaceful implementation by accepting the recommendations of
the district court judge that the plan provide for an
approximate 80-20, white-black ratio throughout the system.
Although the school board could have appealed the subsequent
court order, it chose not to do so but instead declared
forcefully its unanimous position that the board would
comply with the law. School Superintendent Raymond Shelton
followed, taking a public position that his personal views
or those of anyone else were unimportant. The issues, he
said, were the education of children and obedience to the
Other individuals of the Tampa-Hill sborough community
followed this lead. Several members of the Tampa Chamber of
Commerce served on the School Desegregation Committee. One
businessman testified that the maintenance of a good school
system was of special importance to the community's
commercial interests. The Tampa Chamber of Commerce,
therefore, endorsed desegregation, strongly supported the
school desegregation plans of the School Desegregation
Conunittee, and was instrumental in selling and promoting the
final plan to the community. In so doing, the chamber
sought to neutralize the sensitive issue of busing and to
avoid school disruptions that plagued some cities
experiencing school desegregation.
By all accounts, the media newspapers and
television also acted responsibly in reporting on
desegregation of the county's schools. According to Joseph
Mannion, director of news for WFLA-TV, the television
station maintained a policy of providing information about
the plan and its implementation in a noninflammatory manner.
Paul Hogan, managing editor of the Tampa Tribune, said that
the paper counseled the local community to accept the
Federal court ruling and the inevitability of school
desegregation and busing as a means toward this end. The
Parents, white and black, can help in the
adjustment by not planting prejudice or fears in
the minds of their children. Youngsters, left to
themselves, generally have no problem in getting
along together. «''
Religious leaders and law enforcement administrators
played lesser although essentially positive roles in the
county's desegregation crisis. Acting independently of one
another, most clerics urged their congregations to accept
desegregation as in keeping with the Judeo-Christian tenet
of the equality of people before God. Regarding collective
action, however, one minister testified that religious
organizations and associations had a role to play at the
time of desegregation, but they did not become involved.
Representatives of the county and the city police
departments made contingency plans with school officials in
preparation for implementation of the plan. Both police
groups stressed the importance of opening and maintaining
lines of communication with students and avoiding a show of
force in resolving confrontations. Illustrating this point.
Sheriff Malcolm Beard described a minor fracas at Plant High
School at the time of plan implementation:
I found that we were very acceptable to the kids.
As a matter of fact, one young man. .. came off the
bus. He was obviously a leader. He was a black
kid. He was a football player. And he walked up
to me and put his arm around me and I put my arm
around him and he told me to go back to Tampa,
that they were not going to have any trouble that
day. So that is what I did and we didn't have any
Elected county and city government officials testified
that they avoided involvement in the desegregation
controversy in the belief that this was a matter for the
school board alone to address.
High school students testified that relations among
Latin, black, and white students have improved generally
since desegregation. A white youth stated:
On the whole, when I was young the blacks tended
to be looked down upon, especially in elementary
school. In high school it seems to be different.
There seems to be more cohesiveness among the
A Latin youth indicated that most students now judge
others by personality rather than by racial background:
I remember in one case there was one white who
wasn't really liked by his other white friends,
but they. ..said, "Even though we don't like this
guy, if he ever got in a fight with a black we
would have to back him up." And I don't see this
On the whole, junior and senior high school students
seemed to feel that desegregation was working well. Most
students either liked or did not mind the busing involved,
and seemed to enjoy their schools. A black student leader
indicated that the contributions of minority groups should
be incorporated into the social studies curriculum.
By virtually any standard that might be applied, the
Hillsborough County school desegregation plan of 1971 was
implemented successfully. Picketing and boycotts were
nonexistent, and the student disruptions that occurred were
minor. Few v^ites chose to leave their assigned schools,
perhaps due to the countywide nature of the plan, and the
curricular improvements underway throughout the system prior
to plan implementation. Of those who left, however, most
reportedly have returned. School officials also testified
that achievement test scores have improved, that greater
numbers of minority students are seeking higher education
and other kinds of postsecondary study, and that both black
and white students have benefitted from interracial
There is evidence, however, that some problems persist
in the county schools. One of these concerns voluntary
participation of minorities in school affairs. School
officials testified that despite the provision of buses for
special activities, minority students, except athletes,
generally have not participated in extracurricular
activities. Similarly, minority parents reportedly have
been reluctant to join PTAs and to participate in school
programs. On the other hand, minority witnesses stated that
while the black community continues to support
desegregation, many are concerned about such problems as the
disproportionate numbers of black students disciplined, and
instances of racial and ethnic insensitivity and prejudice
demonstrated by some white teachers.
School officials acknowledged that proportionately
greater numbers of black students have been suspended, but
they maintained that discipline has been administered
fairly. One administrator suggested that the suspension
rate for black students in Hillsborough County schools is
roughly equivalent to the national suspension rate for black
students. Upon request of the local NAACP chapter, however,
the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
investigated the Hillsborough school system and found
possible discrimination in disciplinary practices. One
minority leader suggested that mandatory human relations
training for all teachers could be one approach to solving
the problems of black student suspensions and racial
insensitivity displayed by some white teachers toward black
students. School officials have rejected this approach, and
although the absolute number of students suspended has been
decreasing in recent years, suspensions of black students
remain proportionately greater.
Witnesses from the minority community disapproved of
the large percentage of black students transported for
desegregation purposes and the related conversion of two
black high schools to junior high schools. Generally, white
students are bused 2 of their 12 school years in order to
carry out the provisions of the plan; black students are
bused 10 of their 12 years. Minority representatives
testified that had Blake and Middleton been retained as high
schools, the disproportionate transportation would have been
less severe and those institutions would continue as sources
of pride to the black community. School officials said that
it had been their intention to retain both facilities as
senior high schools. That course of action, however, was
abandoned when it became clear that a satisfactory
geographic zone with a stable enrollment probably could not
be maintained. One school official indicated that whites'
"fears" of sending "their kids to a school that was
inherently inferior" also were a factor in the decision to
convert those schools. lo* They also indicated that it was
financially and logistically more feasible to convert the
two black high schools and to disperse the minority
population throughout the system than to adopt any other
The Hillsborough County school system has just begun to
implement a bilingual-bicultural education program for its
substantial number of students from non-English-speaking
backgrounds. In March 1976 the school system completed a
survey identifying 7,08^ students from home environments in
which English is not the dominant language. Although 28
different language groups were identified, the vast majority
of these students are Spanish speaking. A second survey
assessing the English language proficiency of these students
is scheduled for completion by August 1976. Although there
is a philosophical disagreement between the school
administration and bilingual education program staff
regarding the appropriate method for instructing non-
English-speaking children, assistant superintendent Frank
Farmer stated, "By 1976-77, we will have a complete
bilingual program meeting the exact interpretation of the
The Hillsborough County school system is not unlike
numerous others across the Nation that have implemented
desegregation plans. School officials, teachers, parents,
students, and the community have made the adjustment quietly
and without rancor. So smooth was their transition that
they escaped the probing eyes of the national media. Like
other school districts, however, Hillsborough has found that
some problems remain to be resolved. A spokesperson for the
school system alluded to the unfinished business as he
differentiated between desegregation and integration:
You know desegregation is a physical process of
moving people and things. But integration is a
long process of establishing attitudinal
change.... In Hillsborough County we like to feel
we are moving towards integration now. That is
the point of having each youngster feel that this
is his school and he is not imposing himself on
anyone; he is welcome; he takes pride in the
school; he knows when he leaves every morning that
he's going to be treated fairly and impartially;
he's going to get a chance to participate in all
the activities. This is the process we are
working on in this district now. lo*
The testimony as sumarized above reveals the following
1 . Once final judicial action was taken and the
inevitability of desegregation became apparent, numerous
leadership elements including school officials, business
persons, the clergy, and law enforcement officials took
forthright positions in Hillsborough in favor of obedience
to the law and thus paved the way for peaceful
2. The decision of the Hillsborough County school
system to involve a broad cross-section of citizenry in the
planning process facilitated the smooth implementation of
desegregation in the Hillsborough-Tampa community.
3. Desegregation has had positive effects on the
quality of education. Achievement test scores have improved
and greater numbers of minority students are seeking higher
«». The minority communities of Hillsborough, while
still supporting desegregation, are concerned that:
(a) black students are transported disproportionately,
(b) black students are suspended disproportionately.
(c) the needs of language-minority students are not
being adequately addressed, and
(d) some teachers display racial insensitivity and
5. Students have responded positively to
desegregation. Relations among black, white, and Hispanic
students have improved. Students are more highly motivated
and the number of minority students seeking higher education
6. The news media of Hillsborough provided excellent
coverage of the deliberations of the Citizens Desegregation
Committee and kept the community informed as to all aspects
of the desegregation plan. Most of the local media endorsed
peaceful implementation of the plan and avoided
sensationalism in reporting it.
Jefferson county (Louisville) , Kentucky
Louisville and Jefferson County form a border community
in a border State. The county covers 375 square miles and
encompasses 76 cities, the largest of which is Louisville.
Established in 1780 as a trading post, Louisville rests on
the south bank of the busy Ohio River which separates it
from the State of Indiana.
The metropolitan area has long been a major commercial
and business center, producing everything from household
appliances and rubber products to bourbon whiskey and
baseball bats. Although it is also a financial and
insurance center, Louisville's dependence on industry has
made it a working person's town. General Electric Appliance
Division is the largest single employer (20,000) followed by
the Jeffboat Co. (16,000) and Ford Motor Co. (7,5'»a).»05 m
1971, 8«» unions were represented in the area by 219
locals. »o* More than 80 percent of the employees in
manufacturing industries are organized. » ©^
The county's population in 1975 was estimated at
733,220, of whom 327,500 reside in Louisville. » o« As is the
case in many metropolitan areas, the vast majority of the
area's 13.7 percent black population lives in the city,
which is 23.8 percent black. lo* The Jefferson County public
school system serves the entire metropolitan area and
includes 121,763 students; 28,510, or 23. U percent, are
Prior to 1975, there were two school systems, one
serving the city of Louisville, the other serving the
surrounding county. Because the city's corporate limits
extended beyond the Louisville school district lines, some
10,000 students who lived outside the school district but
within the city limits, were in fact included in the
Jefferson County school district, m but were permitted the
choice of attending city schools, tuition paid by the
county. * * 2
The two systems merged in April 1975 when the
Louisville system, as provided for by Kentucky law, * * 3 voted
itself out of existence and was subsumed by the Jefferson
County school system. Although merger had been discussed
for 20 years, it was ultimately necessitated by the failing
financial condition of the city schools. *»♦
The Jefferson County Board of Education now has 13
members. That number will fluctuate until 1978 when it will
stabilize at 7 members elected from newly drawn
districts. 115 There is considerable duplication of positions
within the merged school administration. There are 35
positions titled "superintendent." The head of the new
system is the former county superintendent, and the former
city superintendent became one of three deputy
superintendents (the other two are former county
administrators) . Administrative problems involved in
merging the two different school systems are still being
resolved. Sometimes described as educationally "progressive
and urban oriented," the Louisville school system prior to
merger had 45,000 students, 54 percent of whom were
black. 11* Reflecting its not too distant rural past,
Jefferson County's educational approach was described as
"traditional."* 1^ The county had a relatively wealthy school
system as a result of population growth from an influx of
new businesses and families moving from the city. In 1950
county school enrollment was 16,000,*i8 but at the time of
merger the figure had soared to 90,000 students of whom only
U percent were black. *»'
The two systems had one thing in common — both were
unconstitutionally segregated, despite the fact that in 1956
both had formally abolished the dual school system that had
been legally sanctioned in Kentucky. *2o Black students in
Jefferson County had been assigned to a few majority-black
schools that were underutilized, while nearby majority-white
schools were operating with enrollments greater than
capacity. 121 portable classrooms and double shifts were used
to accommodate the burgeoning numbers of white students. In
Louisville a voluntary open enrollment policy operated to
promote racial separateness ; students simply trans fered to
schools where they would constitute the racial majority.
More than one- third of the Louisville schools in 1973 were
90-100 percent black and another one-third were 90-100
percent white. » 22
Four months after merger, on July 17, 1975, the
Jefferson County Board of Education was ordered to implement
a desegregation plan by September 4, 1975. »23 This order
climaxed 4 years of litigation initiated in 1971 when suit
was filed against the Jefferson County Board of
Education. »24 in 1972 a suit was filed against both the city
and county boards of education seeking expansion of the
Louisville district to include all areas within the city
limits. »2s Subsequently, the NAACP intervened and sought
desegregation and merger. From then on desegregation and
merger became inseparable issues.
The case against both school boards was dismissed by
the Federal district court, but in December 197 3 the Sixth
Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision. *26 with
respect to merger, the circuit court held that upon a
finding of unlawful segregation in neighboring school
systems and a determination that only by means of a
desegregation plan encompassing both school systems can the
schools be desegregated, a district court has the power to
devise a remedy which crosses school district lines. The
circuit court noted that "school district lines have been
disregarded in the past in conforming to State- enforced
segregation."* 2 7
Although a desegregation plan that crossed city-county
boundary lines was approved by the district court, merger
and desegregation came to a halt after the Supreme Court's
decision reversing the sixth circuit's order requiring
interdistrict desegregation between Detroit and its suburbs
in Milliken v. Bradley. *g» In December 197U, however, after
reviewing the Louisville-Jefferson County case in light of
the Milliken decision, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
reinstated its previous decision, ruling that the county is
the basic educational unit of the State in Kentucky and the
State law provides for merger. 129 petitions for review to
the Supreme Court to reverse this decision were denied in
April 1975.130 By this time merger was in process pursuant
to State law.
The Louisville desegregation plan^^i stipulates that
black student enrollment in elementary schools be no less
than 12 percent and no more than 40 percent. At the junior
and senior high levels, black enrollment is to range between
12.5 percent and 35 percent.
The primary means for implementing the plan is
clustering schools that were previously predominantly white
or black and transporting students within each cluster.
Unlike most desegregation plans, which transport students
according to geographic determinations, the Louisville plan
determines which students are to be transported by the first
letter of their last name. The plan calls for 8U percent of
white students to be transported for 2 of their 12 school
years and 16 percent to be transported for 1 year. In
marked contrast, 66 percent of black students are to be
transported for 8 years and 33 percent for 9 years. The
plan also calls for reassignment of administrators and
supportive staff, teachers , and classified personnel to
reflect the systemwide racial composition of the staff.
The court order of July 1975 by no means marked the end
of the struggle to desegregate the schools. The following
August the merged school board sought a stay of
implementation. Although the stay was denied, the school
board appealed the plan and the case was argued before the
circuit court in June 1976, »32 The county's chief executive
officer, county Judge Todd Hollenbach, intervened at the
district court level and joined in the appeal, arguing
against the use of busing. His alternative plan was
rejected by the district court after testimony that the plan
would not eliminate the remaining vestiges of State- imposed
segregation. » "
Since the original court order to desegregate in July
1975, the school board has twice been permitted to extend
the exemption of first graders from transportation. In
December 1975 the court agreed to an interim exemption of
first graders from the plan throughout the remainder of the
school year,»3* and in March 1976 the school board proposed
and the court approved extending the exemption through the
1976-77 school year, but ordered that first graders be
transported as all other grades after that time.»3s
In March 1976 Commission staff went to Louisville to
study the process of school desegregation. After 3 months
of investigation, the Commission held a 3-day hearing June
14, 15, 16 in Louisville during which 117 witnesses were
called to testify.
One of the most important facts to emerge from hearing
testimony was that opposition to school desegregation
existed only to a limited degree among the students.
Student testimony highlighted the fact that the protests and
occasional acts of violence staged by some groups had made
it difficult for the students to settle down and accept the
first year of desegregation in stride:
The entire community was just sort of negative on
the school system and it just drifted down and
affected everyone . » ^e
We had a lot of trouble at the beginning of the
school [year] because the parents would come out
and protest in front of the school. *3 7
The worst thing that happened was our first
football game was cancelled. . .because of
demonstrations at Southern and Durrett. The only
thing wrong at Thomas Jefferson was the things
that happened around us.... Other than that our
school year went really good.* 3"
A student testified that significant changes occurred
within the schools when community protests abated:
I think after a lot of the protesting died down,
[and] a lot of the media treatment of "the schools
are being desegregated this year"... some of the
antagonism just went away.... When it was possible
for the students to start forgetting that they
were being bused... they would forget about it.... I
don't think there was hostility towards the end of
the year. *"
Although organizations were established as early as
1971 to prepare the community for desegregation, the lack of
official channels for input from these groups resulted in
their having little effect on the implementation process.
Numerous witnesses testified that traditional community
leaders — elected county and city officials, the clergy,
business, organized labor, higher education — did little to
urge the community to adhere to the court order or to
promote acceptance of desegregation.
Suzie Post, women's coordinator for the Louisville and
Jefferson County Human Relations Commission, testified that
desegregation was ordered immediately prior to a general
election and "every politician immediately jumped on an
antibusing bandwagon....! don't think there is any question
in many of our minds that with some leadership from our
elected officials, we could have gotten through this
situation in a much more constructive, healthy way."i*o
The executive director of the Kentucky Commission on
Human Rights, Galen Martin, testified that some individuals
in leadership capacities thought that a neutral posture
would be sufficient to ensure peaceful implementation. He
said that many supported law and order but did "nothing in
support of desegregation and ended up contributing to the
Lois Cronholm, who chairs the Louisville-Jefferson
County Human Relations Commission, said that she had been
"markedly unsuccessful" in getting public leaders to express
a commitment to the court order. »*2 Most of them "did not
really want to face the fact that it was going to happen,"
she said.»*3 County Judge Hollenbach testified that although
he and Louisville Mayor Harvey Sloane had appointed a
Community Consensus Committee to prepare the community for
desegregation, county funds provided to the committee in
197U were not reallocated the year schools were
desegregated.* ♦♦ He explained that time constraints had made
it difficult for him and Mayor Sloane to continue meeting
with the committee. **s
Both the county judge and the mayor have proposed
alternatives to the court order, and one witness said he
thought this served to keep people from accepting the court
order. !♦* Judge Hollenbach* s alternative desegregation plan
is essentially a variation of voluntary open enrollment, i*''
He said he believes that "the remedy applied by the Federal
court was far excessive of what it should have been."i*8 in
testimony provided the U.S. Senate Committee on the
Judiciary October 29, 1975, Mayor Sloane advocated "an
alternative judicial approach for school desegregation. "**9
During the Commission's hearing in Louisville, he explained
that a "National Commission on Quality Education would
relieve the responsibility from the judge in the district
courts of making determinations as to desegregation. "* so
Some witnesses said that the absence of leadership in
support of the court order fueled the determination of those
individuals bent on disruption. Lyman Johnson, president of
the Louisville chapter of the NAACP stated: "When the mayor
and the Governor and the county judge abdicated leadership
responsibilities. . .that gives the violent prone elements in
our community a chance to run wild."*^*
A major outbreak of violence occurred on the second day
of school in the southwestern section of the county, in the
vicinity of Valley High School. Injuries were suffered by
91 county policemen and State troopers, and county and State
police officials estimated that the violence cost their
departments over $1 million. *52 Hearing testimony leaves
many unanswered questions as to why the violence was not
The Louisville chief of police. Col. John Nevin,
testified that on September 5, 250 to 300 officers trained
in riot control were mobilized and waiting to assist covrnty
police if needed.* 53 According to Police Chief Nevin, when
the county police were unable to control demonstrations and
requested city support. Judge Hollenbach refused to call for
assistance from the city police. is* Judge Hollenbach
explained that he believed "the city needed [their police]
resources to assure and reserve the peace in the city."*"
Witnesses criticized the Chamber of Commerce for not
taking a firm stand in support of peaceful desegregation,
although the chamber did circulate a "Community Pledge"
calling for peaceful desegregation which was published in
the morning and evening papers August 1, 3, and September
3.156 However, some businesses refused to sign as an
expression of opposition to the court order. i*^ Others
refused to sign or withdrew their signatures in the face of
adverse public reaction. Robinson Brown, president of the
Chamber of Commerce, explained that the pledge was
misunderstood because "antibusing groups. . .accused people of
being probusing if they were not antibusing."**"
There were many serious incidents of intimidation
directed at businesses that refused to display antibusing
posters. An official of a company that operates local
variety stores stated that his refusal to place antibusing
posters in his store windows led to attempts to burn down
one of the stores. As a consequence, he said, the company
decided to display antibusing signs,* 59 and requested
Chamber of Commerce support in the face of a proposed
antibusing boycott of businesses. The chamber took no
action. "This was a time when [the Chamber] should have
stood up for the business people, and they did not," he
A manager of one of the variety stores, who described
himself as against busing because he believes it
impractical, said that he was harrassed after he refused to
join the Ku Klux Klan and to display antibusing signs. He
noted that persons who normally came into the store stopped
coming, and others came specifically to harrass his sales
people. Store windows were broken, he said, one the result
of a shotgun blast. **»
The failure of the business community to unite in
support of peaceful desegregation was matched by the labor
unions, united in their opposition to the desegregation
plan. The management of General Electric refused to sign
the community pledge calling for peaceful desegregation, **2
and approximately 95 percent of GE's employees were absent
from work on September 4 and 5 in protest against the
desegregation plan.i*' Despite the fact that the national
policy of the American Federation of Labor, the Congress of
Industrial Organizations, and the United Auto Workers was
supportive of busing, members of local chapters formed an
organization called United Labor Against Busing and
participated in antibusing demonstrations, »*♦
Some witnesses said the media treatment of
desegregation was fair and informative, *•» and others were
critical. One witness said he believes that the media in
Louisville "is better than average as compared with many
other cities, "!•• and described the use of phrases such as
"court ordered forced busing across racial lines to achieve
balance" as unfortunate because they are misleading. *«7
Another witness, citing an example of inflamatory media
treatment, said that when the Supreme Court decided not to
review the Boston desegregation case, a local television
news program chose to use a picture of a school bus with the
slogan, "Supreme Court Ignores Boston."**"
Some witnesses cautioned that unless community
organizations and elected officials take an affirmative
stand in support of desegregation, the protests and
disruptions that marred the opening of school in 1975 could
be repeated in 1976. **»
The absence of strong leadership among elected
officials and community groups also prevailed in the
Jefferson County Public School System. A school board
member testified that he felt strongly that the board should
have gone on record in support of "carrying out the judge's
order. ..[ but ] there was no way this could have passed this
board. "i^o The school board was divided not only on the
issue of desegregation but also on philosophies of
education, apparently as a result of dissimilar experiences
in the former city and county systems. Board divisiveness
was communicated to the staff and consequently was
destructive in terms of administrative functioning.*^*
Joel Henning, a former school assistant superintendent
who helped design the desegregation plan, identified four
problem areas that he said threaten the integrity of the
plan: a disproportionate number of black students are being
suspended; hardship transfers, which allow students to be
exempted from reassignment, have been granted to a greater
extent to white students and thus have the effect of
maintaining the former racial identity of the schools;
enrollment in the Alternative School for students with
serious disciplinary problems is disproportionately black,
while enrollment in Youth Development Programs for students
with less serious problems is disproportionately white; and
the exemption of first graders from transportation changed
the racial makeup of the schools specified by the court
order. »7 2
A black community leader said that the disciplinary
code results in disproportionate numbers of black students
being suspended and is an institutionalized means for
pushing black students out of school, i'' 3 She suggested that
the school board find alternatives to suspending
Several black community witnesses and Deputy
Superintendent Milburn Maupin, the former Louisville school
superintendent, expressed anger that a grant to study the
suspension problem had been refused by the school
administration. 175 Although another deputy superintendent
explained that the grant was turned down because it was too
heavily research oriented, * 7* Mr. Maupin said he believed
that "we ought to be jumping at any study on suspensions
because little is known on how to solve the problem. "^^^
A white student gave her views on student suspensions:
The blacks are better known because they are
caught so often. The whites aren't, because the
whites seem to be able to get out of it. They
always make up excuses. It is easier for a white
to get out of class than a black because. ..[ the
teachers ] think [ black students ] are lying to
them, whereas they will believe [a white student]
There are indications that some schools are beginning
to face the suspension problem. Deputy Superintendent
Maupin testified that a school principal had told him that:
"I am convinced that whatever the reason I might have had,
my posture on suspensions is just not effective, and I am
changing that. » ^9
Students in Louisville appear to be adjusting well to
desegregation, and many student witnesses testified that
desegregation is a positive experience:
If I hadn't gone to Thomas Jefferson, I would
really be a narrow-minded person, because before I
went there I went to a private all-white school,
and I had no idea what other people were like; I
didn't want to associate with anybody except
whites. But at Thomas Jefferson, I got to where
color didn't matter to me.»80
Testimony also indicates that students often took the
initiative to help other students adjust to their new
school. One student said:
We met the buses the first two or three days... and
accompanied students to the classrooms and we
introduced them to the teacher and other people
around the schools... so they would feel more at
home . * « 1
The schools had different ways of easing tensions that
resulted from community controversy about desegregation.
The county school administration developed a human relations
program to facilitate the desegregation process in the
schools and in the community by promoting interaction among
students and parents. The sponsor at Shawnee High School
explained that the program was designed "to prepare our
students to meet their anxieties. .. .So we began setting up
discussion groups, small groups of students, and they began
discussing any problems in the school.* 82
A student testified to the effectiveness of the
program: "I think it is good because people got to express
their feelings publicly instead of keeping everything locked
up inside of them."*^^
In response to student and teacher concerns, one school
provided a suggestion box to gather ideas for
recommendations to the human relations committee. The same
school developed a rumor control system to keep students
informed of facts concerning any school incident. i84
Despite the difficulty with which desegregation was
implemented in the Jefferson County Public Schools and
notwithstanding the problems that remain, education in the
schools has carried on. A teacher characterized the school
year in the following manner:
It has been a different year. It has not been a
good year, it has not been a bad year. We
consider ourselves at Smyrna very fortunate that
things have gone as well as they have. We had a
fairly good year. **5
Community disruptions that caused tensions and anxiety
among students and teachers in the first quarter of the
1975-76 school year have ceased. There appears to be a
gradual realization that school desegregation is there to
stay. A white parent explained:
At the beginning I was a little bit disappointed
that [my son] was to be bused from his home
school. But we decided, my husband and I, that if
this was to be his life, then we would go right
along with him. And he seemed to be happy, and he
went to Central and he began to love Central. He
said there was something there that he had not
found any place else.»««
Referring to the fact that black children are bused to
a greater extent than white children, a black parent
explained his rationale for accepting the court order:
Black people have been unhappy so long, but we are
used to it. The black community understood the
dilemma of busing, how inconvenient it was and is
for young children to be on the corner. ..to catch
a bus... but we felt that it was worth the
sacrifice. ..if that young child doesn't get on the
bus to get an education, he may be on that corner
the rest of his life.is^
The above summary of testimony from the Louisville
hearing contains the following findings:
1. Elected covmty officials abdicated their
responsibility to maintain law and order and to take an
affirmative stand in support of the desegregation order, and
thus perpetuated the belief of opponents to desegregation
that demonstrated opposition would yield results. The failure
of County Judge Hollenbach to request city police assistance in th«
face of disruptions on September 5, 1975, in the
southwestern section of the county resulted in extensive
property damage and bodily injuries.
2. Although the Chamber of Commerce made some initial
attempts to unify the business community in support of
peaceful desegregation, it yielded to intimidation from
dissident elements in the community. As a result, many
businesses that would not have supported antibusing forces
publicly did so in order to protect themselves and their
3. In spite of community disruption, the schools
desegregated peacefully and with minimal difficulty. Well
developed human relations programs in individual schools
facilitated the desegregation process.
4. Students generally responded positively to
desegregation. Any tension and anxiety that existed was
generated by community controversy and opposition. When
community opposition abated after the first quarter of the
school year, students settled down and accepted the first
year of desegregation as a normal school year.
5. The failure of the school board to commit itself to
carrying out the court order has contributed to a trend
towards re segregation. Hardship transfers granted to a
greater degree to white students and the exemption of first
graders from transportation have changed the racial makeup
of the schools from that specified by the court order.
6. The failure of the school administration to examine
the causes of disproportionate suspension rates for black
students and a similar failure to evaluate assignment
practices that place a disproportionate number of black
students in the Alternative School have caused members of
the black ccwununity to question the integrity of the school
admi ni str a tion .
FOUR STATE ADVISORY COMMITTEE OPEN MEETINGS
Berkeley was one of the first northern school districts
to desegregate voluntarily. Located within the metropolitan
San Francisco bay area of northern California, the city has
a population of 1 16,716. i«« Approximately 62.5 percent of
the city's population is Anglo, 23 percent black, 9 percent
Asian American, and 5.5 percent of Spanish origin. *89
In October 1975 the school district reported an
enrollment estimated to be 45 percent white, U2 percent
black, 7 percent Asian American, 3 percent Chicano, and 3
percent all other. »90 The ratio of minority to majority
students has remained stable since desegregation was
implemented 8 years ago.*'*
Efforts to desegregate the public schools began in 1957
when the local NAACP chapter proposed to the school board
that a citizens' advisory committee be appointed to study
the problems of segregation in Berkeley schools. I'z such a
committee was appointed. It sponsored numerous meetings
with school personnel and community representatives and
submitted a study of educational opportunities in the
district. » '3
In 1963 the board voted to desegregate the junior high
schools and to study methods for desegregating the
elementary schools at a later date.*'* During the pxiblic
meeting conducted by the Commission's California Advisory
Committee in the spring of 1976, Judge Spurgeon Avakian, a
former board member of the Berkeley school district, said of
the board* s decision:
First of all was the conviction of the board that
in our modern society, equal rights and equal
opportunities are meaningless without equal
education. Secondly, there was the belief that
equal education is impossible in a segregated
setting. And finally, there was a feeling on the
part of the board that the community of Berkeley
was ready to take a major step in trying to reduce
some of the inequities which were prevalent in our
Board and community representatives alike said that the
strong leadership exerted by several superintendents and the
school board plus community participation were critical
elements in the successful inrplementation of desegregation
plans in 1964 and 1968.
According to Judge Avakian, opposition to desegregation
from all strata of the community took the form of attempts
to delay desegregation.*'* this opposition took the form of
a recall election for members of the board who supported
desegregation. The attempt to have these board members
recalled failed. i97 the recall election divided the
community. Judge Avakian viewed the outcome as positive:
...[The outcome of the election] resulted in an
overwhelming expression by the community of
support for what had been done. The vote was
something like 62 percent [against recall] to 38
percent [for recall]. And it meant that all of
the people who were saying that this was a
misguided decision. . .had to accept the decision of
the community. .. .It enabled the school system then
to deal directly with the problems of implementing
that decision without constantly having to deal
with critics who were harping that this was not
the will of the community. i'*
Elementary schools were desegregated in the fall of
1968, accompanied by faculty desegregation and extensive
inservice training. The plan required all students to ride
buses during some part of their elementary school years.
The school administration, as well as parents, monitored the
bus rides closely the first years and assured themselves
that safety and convenience prevailed. "Really and truly,"
Carol Sibley, former president of the Berkeley School Board,
told the California Advisory Committee, "busing has not been
much of an issue in Berkeley since we began it. We had very
few complaints."* 99
There were also few if any complaints about racial
violence in Berkeley schools during implementation of
desegregation. The number of racial incidents was minimal
and very few could be traced to desegregation. 200 Alan
Young, a school counselor, testified that behavior which
would normally be considered merely aggressive or even
playful if it occurred between two students of the same race
was interpreted by overreacting white parents as a racial
.incident if students of different races were involved. 20*
Moreover, the California Advisory Committee heard testimony
that since desegregation there has been minimal physical
disruption in Berkeley's public schools. 202
Desegregation has had positive effects on the quality
of education. Dr. Arthur Dambacher, director of research
and evaluation testified that achievement test scores of
students within the different racial and ethnic groups had
improved. 203 He also cited factors other than achievement
scores that suggest positive results from desegregation in
If we were to take a look at desegregation, the
physical redistribution of youngsters...! feel
that Berkeley gets a near perfect score. ...If
we're saying that white middle-class values and
behavior patterns have been accepted by all of the
minority groups. . .then we did not accomplish that
because in my opinion it was not the objective
that Berkeley set out to accomplish. If we
instead mean by [integration] a greater awareness
of the multicultural nature of our community, then
yes, we've got a good score on that. 20*
Although desegregation has been generally successful,
some complaints surfaced at the open meeting. Some black
and white parents expressed concern that disparities
continued to exist among the achievement levels of the
different racial and ethnic groups. 205 some minority parents
criticized the placement of minorities in low tracks; others
complained that white teachers had low expectations of the
capabilities of minority students. 206 Jesse Anthony, a
music teacher in the district who is also active in the
black community, said some classes are segregated:
...in music... you probably will find very few
black students, and it's not because they are not
terribly talented. It is because they are wiped
out by the method of teaching, by the
curriculum. 2 7
Judy Bingham, a white parent, indicated that the
school administration has not responded to student needs:
I have never been of the belief that there was any
reason why black students should not be given the
sense that they must achieve, and I feel that the
district has failed them in this regard. They
failed the nonminority students as well because
achievement has not been made a very big issue. 208
Berkeley has hired minorities at administrative and
staff levels within the school system. According to Gene
Roh, president of the board of education: "[you] have to
have minority representation from. ..one end of the district
to the other, relative to classroom teachers, counselors,
support service people and administrators. . .through members
of the board. "2 09
Dr. Laval Wilson, superintendent of Berkeley Unified
School District, articulated the importance of minority
...the affirmative action aspect of any school
district that is desegregated is very crucial
because you need to have a variety of ethnic adult
models [for] a variety of students.... Over a
period of time we have found in our district...
the percentages of staff members, certificated and
classified, have proportionately increased. .. .2*0
Although not without problems, Berkeley's experience
with desegregation is a positive one. Judge Avakian summed
Berkeley. ..[ went through]. . .the kind of thing
every community is going to have to go through
some time. And hopefully, some communities will
learn from the Berkeley experience that it's not
as traumatic as the critics proclaim it to be. 2*1
The preceding summary of testimony provides the
1 . strong leadership exerted successively by several
superintendents and the school board plus community
participation were critical elements in the peaceful
implementation of the desegregation plans of 196U and 1968.
2. Achievement scores have improved for minority as
well as majority students; however, disparities continue to
exist among the different racial and ethnic groups.
3. The Berkeley school system hired a number of
minorities, particularly for important administrative
positions; however, minorities still remain underrepresented
in the system's school staff.
School desegregation in Minneapolis grew out of the
combined activities of local citizens, the school board and
administration, and the State board of education. The
desegregation process began in 1967 when the Minneapolis
Board of education, of its own volition and with the
assistance of a committed superintendent, adopted human
relations guidelines and established a voluntary transfer
program permitting students to transfer within the school
district. 21 2 jn 1970 the State board of education issued
desegregation guidelines setting a 30 percent ceiling for
minority student enrollment in any school. In April 1971,
17 Minneapolis schools exceeded the ceiling and the State
board ordered the school district to develop a desegregation
plan. 2 13 Meanwhile, the local NAACP and members of a
biracial group of citizens called the Committee for
Integrated Education filed suit in Federal district court,
charging the school district with de jure segregation of
students and faculty. 2»* On May 2U, 1972, the court found
the Minneapolis public schools segregated as a result of de
jure practices, some of which are summarized as follows:
siting and expanding schools in a manner that
increased racial concentrations between schools
use of portable classrooms at racially
gerrymandering attendance zones at the senior high
operating a transfer policy that had the effect of
increasing existing racial isolation
operating a policy of optional attendance zones
that facilitated resegregation
assigning minority teachers in a manner that
perpetuated faculty segregation
assigning less experienced and lower paid teachers
to schools with the highest percentage of minority
Describing the deliberately discriminatory intent of
the school board in the location, size, and construction of
the Bethune Elementary School, the court stated, "It is hard
to imagine how a school could be more clearly denominated a
•black school' unless the words themselves had been chiseled
over the door. "216 The court also concluded, "These
decisions as to size and location of schools have had the
intended effect of increasing or at least maintaining
segregation in the defendant's schools, "z*"'
The court ordered the iirplementation of a desegregation
plan that the board had already developed and approved 1
month earlier. The plan called for new building
construction, the institution of several educational
alternatives in the curriculum, expansion of community
schools, school pairing, clustered schools, initiation of
the middle school concept, magnet-type programs in the
central city to attract white students, and inservice human
relations training for faculty and staff. 2 le The court set
minority enrollment at each school at 35 percent and
required progress reports every 6 months. 219 under the 1972
plan, the court continues to require periodic adjustments to
bring the enrollment of each school into compliance with the
ordered ceiling. Currently, 7 percent of the city's 424,000
residents and 21 percent of the district's 55,0 00 public
school students are minorities. 220
Testimony before the Minnesota Advisory Committee
indicated that after the Federal court issued its
desegregation order, a number of organizations and
institutions have played critical roles in the peaceful
implementation of the plan. Dr. John B. Davis, Jr.,
superintendent of schools when Minneapolis desegregated in
1972, pointed out the commitments of the State board of
education and the legislature, which had provided more than
$4 million for a building program during desegregation, and
the "remarkable" support of teacher leadership. The Federal
court. Dr. Davis noted, "kept us... on our toes in terms of
meeting what we said we wanted to do. "221
Leadership was vital in smoothing the path of
desegregation. Community leaders pointed out that the
school board and school administration, though somewhat
reluctant to initiate desegregation, later asserted a
positive role during the process. According to Barbara
Schwartz of the Committee for Integrated Education:
I think Minneapolis was very fortunate to have the
kind of school administration and school board we
have. While there was reluctance and I think slow
going in the beginning, I think it's without
question that the great burden of providing
leadership for desegregation rested with
them. ...The School Board was out among its
constituents explaining [it] so
that. .. desegregation [now] is an accepted
Curtis C. Chivers, who served as president of the local
NAACP chapter during the early desegregation efforts,
I think what helped us greatly was the fact that
we had an atmosphere of fairness in Minneapolis on
the part of people who could have given us
trouble, the business community and this type of
thing. We had lines of communication being kept
open; we had people on the school board you could
talk with. 22 3
According to John Warder, who served on the school
board from ISe** to 1969, the business community not only
supported desegregation, but also provided funds for new
educational programs and human relations projects. *2* Dr.
Davis noted the importance of outspoken clergymen. *2s
As the desegregation plan was implemented, the school
district also undertook a recruitment program to hire
minority teachers. According to Dr. Joyce Jackson, who
served as assistant director of personnel for the school
district at that time, "the recruiting schedule was
drastically changed in terms of the types of the schools
where we went. ..We expanded to many colleges that were
located in the South and colleges [that] had a large
proportion of minority students. "226
Desegregation under the court's jurisdiction has not
been physically disruptive or violent. According to Dr.
Robert Williams, associate superintendent for intergroup
education, the plan was implemented, "to the surprise of
many, without the violence and without the vandalism that is
too often associated with school desegregation. "22 ^ "We had
relatively few incidents of violence. While there were
lamentable incidents, I do not think that they were tied in
any way to the effort being made to desegregate the
schools. "22S The desegregation effort did not go unopposed,
however, and some residents and parents of Minneapolis
schoolchildren voiced their negative opinions about
desegregation. In one case, the pairing of Hale and Field
Elementary Schools, a lawsuit opposing the action was filed
by residents. 229 The lack of violence, according to Jean
Cummings, the parent of four Minneapolis schoolchildren, did
not indicate a lack of opposition. The lack of violence,
she said, resulted from a "law-abiding citizenry who did not
care to stand up and start throwing rocks at each other. "2'o
Many opponents of desegregation reportedly considered
removing their children from the public schools and
enrolling them in either private or suburban schools. Lowry
Johnson, principal at Field School (one of the first schools
involved in pairing) , noted that a number of residents said,
"We're going to move, we're going to run" during the early
stages of desegregation. But, Mr. Johnson said, "now I
would be willing to say that those that ran are running back
Gladys Anderson, principal of Nathan Hale School,
agreed, "One of the persons who was most against the pairing
of Hale and Field now has his child enrolled in Hale."*'*
The opposition to desegregation evident among some
parents has not been apparent among the students directly
affected by the action. Dr. Williams reported that tests of
student attitudes have shown that "desegregation has been
very positive in the eyes of the children." "So if we're
waiting for the children to be segregationists, we'll be
waiting a long time," he concluded; "Children are handling
desegregation very well. "233
Principals, teachers, administrators, and students
reported that desegregation was taking place both in the
classroom and in extracurricular activities. Mike
O'Donnell, a teacher at Wilder School, said, "I definitely
feel that there is more social interaction between all
students and all races in our schools. "23* Richard Green,
principal at North High School, observed:
For some reason, either through desegregation or
whatever, the 9th grade class which came to North
for the first time last year saw. ..more pupils
sharing, sitting in classrooms and lunchrooms at
integrated lunch tables; it was much more
prevalent among the 9th graders than it was
amongst the 12th graders and the 11th graders. 2 's
George Sell, a white student at Central High School,
I feel that it has opened my mind in going to
school with people from different backgrounds and
that has probably more prepared me than sitting in
an all-white school... If you put kids from a
different race together without any influence from
the parent, they're going to get along fine.z^*
During desegregation, student achievement levels
reportedly rose in some schools. According to Geraldine
Johnson, a teacher at Field Elementary School, math and
reading scores of both majority and minority students
rose. 237 other teachers also noted that the quality of
educational programs in the school system had improved. 23e
Commenting on the overall outcome of desegregation,
Harry Davis, director (member) of the Minneapolis Board of
Education, noted, "I think they [the students] are better
educated, and integration and desegregation have improved
the quality of education. 239
The following findings were derived from the above
statement on the Minneapolis open meeting:
1. Although the Board of Education had initiated a
plan to desegregate Minneapolis schools through voluntary
student transfer, the Federal district court found the
school administration operated a de jure system because it
had employed such segregatory practices as locating schools
and gerrymandering attendance zones to increase segregation
and assigning less experienced and lower-paid teachers to
racially identifiable schools.
2. After the court order the school board and the
school administration exerted strong positive leadership
implementing the desegregation plan.
3. Although there was strong opposition to
desegregation among some segments of the community, an
acceptance of the law permitted desegregation to proceed
with only a few disruptive incidents.
Desegregation of Stamford public schools was carried
out voluntarily and with little difficulty from 1962 to
1972. The board of education was committed to desegregation
and the superintendent exerted his leadership and support.
There was little opposition and busing was not a major
Located between wealthy suburban communities on the
Long Island Sound, Stamford has a population of 108,798.2*0
Approximately 83.2 percent of the population is white, 12.3
percent is black, and 3.8 percent is of Spanish origin; less
than 1.0 percent are members of other racial and ethnic
groups. 2*1 The city encompasses 40 square miles. Its
northern section is predominantly white and affluent, and
the low-income and minority population is concentrated in
the southern section. In 1975, 19,118 students were
enrolled in Stamford schools; approximately 31. U percent
Desegregation of the school system began with the
opening of a second high school in 1961 and the
redi strict ing of the two high schools in 1962. A common
concern of both the community and the board of education was
that the school system was becoming increasingly racially
isolated. At the recommendation of a broadly-based citizen
committee, the school board redistricted the high schools,
changing the district line from east-west to north-south to
ensure that students from both northern and southern
sections of the city attended both high schools.
Subsequent steps to desegregate Stamford's public
schools included closing predominantly black schools and
opening new middle and elementary schools in an inner-city
area readily accessible to both minority and majority
communities. Although most black parents believed that
desegregation would improve the quality of education in the
schools, a small coalition of blacks and Hispanics disagreed
and developed their own proposal, which stressed quality
education and community control. The final elementary
school plan, which went into effect in September 1972, was
challenged in Federal district court on the grounds that it
placed a disproportionate share of busing on the black
community. 2*2 The court upheld the school board's plan.2^3
School officials, parents, and community and civic
leaders generally agree that Stamford desegregated its
schools with relative ease.2** Although small groups of
parents objected to specific school assignments, there was
no significant opposition. Business and political leaders
were not actively involved and considered desegregation a
school board issue. Religious leaders supported
desegregation but were not active. The media reported
accurately on each phase of the plan.
Elementary school principal Michael D'Agostino said
there was no general pattern of white flight. "We didn't
see any swelling of the private schools after desegregation.
I think some of the parents were apprehensive, but I think
that apprehension diminished after the schools opened in
September. "2*5 Dr. Robert Peebles, superintendent of
schools, said, "I think there are isolated examples of
students who have done this, but at the same time I think
that's countered by students that have chosen to leave
private and parochial schools to come to our own
schools.. . ."2**
Desegregation within the classroom remains a critical
issue. Ability grouping, which is used to varying degrees
at different age levels, frequently results in racial and
ethnic isolation in academic classrooms at the middle and
high school levels. Students, parents, and school staff
differ in their views on ability grouping. Although parents
support heterogeneous grouping with individualized
instruction in the lower grades, they do not, in general,
support heterogeneous grouping in basic skill courses in
middle and high schools.
Students, particularly those in lower tracks, have a
different view. One black student, describing the apathy of
teachers in the lower grouping, said, "There isn't anybody
to help you out... nobody down there to push you. "2*^
Nevertheless, several persons expressed satisfaction
with the desegregated school environment. One black high
school student said:
Now I feel that students should be integrated
because most parents give their children, maybe
unconsciously. . .an outline of people, like black
people all take drugs and hang out in the streets
and rob your house and everything.... You won't
know about people until you mix with them. And I
think school is really where people get together
and people mix, and I'd rather go to an integrated
school than an all-black school. 2**
A white parent, who chose to bus her children for US
minutes to attend the predominantly black magnet school in
the inner city, said:
My daughter had been to an all-white nursery
school and to a kindergarten where the black
children were bused in and it made her think of
them as being dif ferent. . . so when we heard about a
public school in Stamford that had a type of
educational program which we think is very, very
good, we investigated that and since my daughter
has been to that school I have seen her come
around 100 percent. She never refers to race,
ever. If she talks about the children in her
classroom, she simply names them. 2* 9
Most school officials, parents, and students agreed
that discipline was a continuing problem in the schools. A
disproportionate percentage of students suspended — more than
60 percent in 1974 — are black. Students and teachers
differed about whether black and white students were treated
equally in disciplinary procedures. One student put the
problem in the following perspective:
Basically a teacher doesn't want people to feel
that they're treating the white kids better than
the black kids and they overdo it to the point
where they let the blacks get away with so much
and the white kids get away with so little that it
makes the white kids mad. But then you get a
teacher who says, well, I'm not going to let these
black kids get away with nothing on me... and it's
just reverse and the black students get mad. 2 so
Minority parents and students strongly criticized the
lack of adequate minority representation in the school
system. This criticism appeared justified in light of the
school system's employment profile. In 1975, 76 (5.7
percent) of the 1,338 total professional staff were black
and 17 (1.3 percent) were of Spanish origin. In the spring
of 1976 there were 20 social workers; only 3 (15 percent)
were black and none was Hispanic. Of 1U psychologists, only
one was black and none was Hispanic; of 56 special education
teachers, none was black or Hispanic. Of 48 counselors, 3
or 6 percent were black and none was Hispanic. ^si
Although the percentage of black elementary students
transported increased from 17 percent to 31 percent when the
plan was implemented, allegations that minority students are
bused in disproportionate numbers are not supported by the
evidence. In 1975 the percentage of black students bused
was approximately 5 percent above their representation in
the elementary student body. For all grades, the percentage
of black students bused was approximately equal to their
School staff, parents, and community leaders generally
believe that the quality of education has improved since
desegregation. Many persons said they believed that the
multiracial classroan provides a better education for
Stamford • s students .
Dr. Thomas Reardon, an assistant superintendent in the
school system for many years, said: "I personally can say
from observation and many other facts that the integration-
desegregation program has improved the quality of education
in Stamford significantly and contributed to the good racial
relationship and harmony in the city itself." 2s 2
It is evident from the above Stamford open meeting
1. School officials, parents, community leaders, and
civic leaders agree that Stamford had a relatively easy
desegregation experience. This occurred even though small
groups of parents were opposed, and business and political
leaders generally did not take a stand on the issue.
2. Many students are reported to be satisfied with
desegregation; however, ability grouping is tending to
segregate racial and ethnic minorities by classroom at the
middle and high school levels.
3. Student discipline is a continuing source of
concern. A disproportionately high percentage of students
suspended are blacks.
H. Minorities are poorly represented on the staffs of
Corpus Christi, Texas
Desegregation in Corpus Christi, Texas, has grown from
a neighborhood concern into a grueling legal battle between
Mexican Americans and blacks and the predominantly Anglo
Corpus Christi, located on the Gulf Coast, has a
population of 204,525.253 Approximately ai percent of the
city's population is Mexican American, 5 percent is black,
and 53 percent is Anglo. 2 5* The Corpus Christi school
district in December 1975 had a student enrollment that was
57 percent Mexican American, 6 percent black, and 37 percent
Efforts to desegregate the public schools involve the
landmark case Cisneros . v. Corpus Christi Independent School
District . 2 5S On July 22, 1968, Jose Cisneros and 25 other
Mexican American and black members of the United Steel
Workers of America Union, Local 5022, filed suit in Federal
district court alleging that local school authorities had
operated schools in a discriminatory fashion. On June U,
1970, a district court found that "Mexican American students
are an identifiable, ethnic-minority class sufficient to
bring them within the protection of Brown. "^s* Further, the
court found that the Corpus Christi Independent School
District had engaged in the following acts of de jure
segregation of Mexican American and black students:
,, .administrative decisions by the school board in
drawing boundaries, locating new schools, building
new schools and renovating old schools in the
predominantly Negro and Mexican parts of town, in
providing an elastic and flexible subjective
transfer system..., by bussing [sic] some
students, by providing optional transfer zones
which resulted in Anglos being able to avoid Negro
and Mexican-American schools, not allowing
Mexican-Americans or Negroes the option of going
to Anglo schools... by assigning Negro and Mexican-
American teachers in disparate ratios to these
segregated schools. ... 2»t
The court said that these acts were "calculated to, and did,
maintain and promote a dual school system. "*'•
After submission of plans by plaintiffs and defendants,
the court in 1971 issued an order to disestablish the dual
school system. 2 S9 student assignment plan required pairing
of elementary schools at two levels, a complete revision of
high school attendance zones, and further reassignment of
pupils. The court found that the plan would require
transportation of approximately 15,000 students. 2»o appeals
have resulted in numerous plans being submitted to the court
by the school district. These plans have varied, but
generally included such measures as pairing of schools,
district rezcaiing, and voluntary transfer programs.
Because of delays in the litigation only the voluntary
transfer program was put into effect during the 1974-75
school year. When it failed to meet the court's standard.
Federal District Judge Owen Cox called for an improved plan
during the 1975-76 school year.
The major objective of the current plan is to satisfy
court-ordered ethnic ratios (75 percent majority to 25
percent minority enrollments) with a minimum of busing. A
lottery system was devised to determine which students would
be bused when computer assignmets failed to meet the court-
imposed ratio. The system is rotational so that a different
set of children are bused every year. About 5,000 students
are bused by the school district; more than 2,300 or about
.U4 percent are transported for desegregation.
Throughout the entire legal proceedings up to the
present, the school administration has opposed
desegregation. Paul Montemayor, a Mexican American member
of the United Steel Workers of America, in his remarks at
the open meeting, described the frustrations of trying to
work with the school board to improve equal educational
opportunities for Mexican Americans and how the board's
uncooperative stance led to the filing of the Cisneros
Madelin Olds, assistant professor at Del Mar Junior
College in Corpus Christi, stated:
While the... people in Corpus Christi want to obey
the law, it... has not been clear to a number of
people why the Corpus Christi schools are under
Federal court order. .. .There has been no official
acknowledgment by the Corpus Christi School Board
of unconstitutional behavior, but evidence in the
Cisneros case clearly shows and Federal courts
have agreed that de jure segregation exists. 262
Another witness, the Reverend Harold Branch, pastor of
St. John's Baptist Church in Corpus Christi, said:
[There] has not been a commitment on the part of
our school administration that [desegregation] is
good for us and... for our children, that this is
the way to lead us out of... the ghettoized
life... in Corpus Christi. 2*3
The school administration's opposition has extended to
Commission efforts to obtain information on overall
desegregation progress in the district's schools. The
superintendent refused to permit Commission staff to
interview administrators or teachers. He also refused to
testify or allow his staff to testify at the Advisory
Committee's open meeting. As a result, the Commission held
a hearing in Corpus Christi in August 1976.
Despite the negative quality of Corpus Christi 's
educational leadership, there has been an almost total
absence of violence or disorder during the district's
limited desegregation efforts. «*♦ is due, in large part, to
the efforts of the business and religious community in
Corpus Christi. The media has also played an important role
in keeping the community informed. The local newspaper, the
Corpus Christi Caller - Times , provided excellent coverage.
School administrators have cited white flight as an
outcome of desegregation. Dr. Dwayne Bliss, assistant
school superintendent, told the press that the normal
attrition rate for the Corpus Christi school district is
about 670. Since the July 1975 desegregation order, more
than 1,600 students have not returned to school. Of this
total. Dr. Bliss said, about 600 were Anglos. z*s
Since many Mexican American pupils in Corpus Christi
schools have limited ability in English, there is a special
need for bilingual-bicultural programs. Dr. Arturo Medina,
professor at Texas A&I in Corpus Christi, told the Advisory
Committee that school officials often take the attitude that
the goal of many bilingual programs in Texas is to eradicate
the original home language. According to Dr. Medina, the
poor academic performance of many Mexican American students
can be attributed to the lack of good bilingual-bicultural
There is also a critical shortage of minorities in
administrative and teaching positions. The school district
historically has hired a disproportionately small number of
Mexican Americans and blacks to fill professional positions
on its administrative and teaching staffs. The district
currently employs 3,923 full-time staff; 1,711 or about 4U
percent are employed as teachers. Minorities are only about
30 percent of the faculty. Moreover, only six Mexican
Americans and one black are employed in the top
administrative positions. Out of a total of 56 principals,
only 15 are identified as Mexican American or black. On the
other hand, of the 810 service workers currently employed,
571 or 70 percent are minorities. Given the fact that
Mexican Americans and blacks make up more than 63 percent of
the current student enrollment in the district, there
appears to be a severe disparity in the employment of
minority staff. 2*^
As a triethnic community. Corpus Christi provides a
richly endowed setting for its students. A recalcitrant
school administration and lack of strong leadership at the
community level have severely restricted the benefits of
From the above statement on the Corpus Christi open
meeting, the following findings are evident:
1 . Although the Corpus Christi school administration
is opposed to desegregation and 8 years of litigation were
required before the school system was ordered to
desegregate, violence and disruption have been almost
totally absent since the limited desegregation process
2. A critical shortage of minority faculty exists in
the schools. Although two-thirds of the district's
enrollment is of minority background, minorities make up
less than one- third of its teachers.
3. Despite the fact that more than half of Corpus
Christi 's student body is of Mexican American background and
many are fluent only in Spanish, the system lacks a good
bilingual-bicultural program to meet their educational
SUMMARY OF DESEGREGATION EXPERIENCES — 29 SELECTED SCHOOL
Twenty-nine desegregating school districts were studied
by the Commission's State Advisory Committees with
assistance from regional Commission staff in order to
discover patterns of the school desegregation process.
These districts varied in locale, size, and minority
representation. (See map 2.1 and table 2.2) Descriptions
of 25 of the case studies follow. 2*8
The 29 Case Study School Districts
Boqalusa, Louisiana , a rural southern town located on
the Staters eastern border, in 1975 had an estimated
population of 17,415, about 33 percent black. The Bogalusa
City School District in 197 5 had a student population of
1,660, of which 1,771 or 38 percent was black. Of the 267
faculty members, 28 percent was black. In 196 5 the school
district began court-ordered desegregation under a freedom-
of-choice plan which did not result in a significant degree
of desegregation. Total desegregation was ordered in 1969.
Colorado Springs, Colorado , on the eastern slope of the
Rocky Mountains, is the State's second largest city. The
estimated population in 1975 was 175,000, of which
approximately 8.5 percent was Mexican American, 5.2 percent,
black, and 1.3 percent, other minorities. Colorado Springs
School District No. 11 for the 197 5 school year had a
student population of 34,201, with 3,330 Mexican Americans,
2,100 blacks, 379 Asian Americans, and 95 Native Americans.
Of 1,953 faculty members, only 7 percent was minority. In
1970 the district voluntarily desegregated its high schools.
Dorchester County, Maryland , is a rural marshland area
on the eastern shore. The county in 1970 had a total
population of 29,405, 30.8 percent of which was black. In
1975 the school enrollment was 6,111, with 2,538 (m
percent) black students. Of 366 faculty members, 29 percent
was black. In 1963 the Dorchester County School District
initiated a freedom-of -choice plan which resulted in only
token desegregation. In 1971 under pressure from the
Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, the district
implemented a comprehensive desegregation plan.
Erie, Pennsylvania , an industrial port city on Lake
Erie, in 1970 had a population of 129,231 of which 6.8
percent was black. The Erie City School District in 1975
had an enrollment of 17,462, with 3,234 (18.5 percent) black
students. Erie employed 50 minority faculty members (4.5
percent) of a total of 1,109. The school district was
initially required to desegregate in 1968 by the State
department of education. A desegregation plan was ordered
by the court and implemented in 1975.
Greenville. Mississippi , is a river port in the
Mississippi Delta. In 1970, almost 53 percent of the 39,495
people living in Greenville were black. The Greenville
Municipal Separate School District is a majority-black
district enrolling 10,048 students in 1975. While 70
percent of the student body was black, only 46.7 percent of
the faculty was black. In 1964 the school board voluntarily
initiated a freedom-of-choice plan, the first such effort in
Mississippi. In 1970 under court order, the district
implemented a comprehensive plan for total desegregation.
Kalamazoo, Michigan , is an urban area of 85,555. While
blacks are the largest minority group (8,53U) , there are
1,579 Latinos in Kalamazoo. In the fall of 1975 the
Kalamazoo Public Schools had a student population of 14,551,
of which 2 3 percent was black and 1.3 percent was of Spanish
origin. Of 817 faculty members, 9.9 percent was minority.
The district implemented court-ordered desegregation in
The Kirkwood R-J School District, Missouri , is a
surburban district of St. Louis, Missouri, serving the
cities of Des Peres, Frontenac, Glendale, and Kirkwood and
unincorporated areas in St. Louis County. The 1970
population of the district was approximately 43,034. Blacks
constituted 5 percent of the population. The school
district's student population for 1975 was 6,792, with a
black enrollment of 756 or 11.1 percent. Almost 9 percent
of the 409-member faculty was minority. Minimal efforts to
desegregate the legally constituted dual school system were
begun immediately after Brown . Under pressure from the
Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, the Kirkwood
R-7 district totally desegregated in 1975.
Little Rock, Arkansas , is the central city of a medium-
sized metropolitan area. The 1970 population of the city
was 13 2,483. There were 21,928 students attending public
schools in the Little Rock School District in 1975. Blacks
constituted about 52 percent of the student population.
Black faculty members represented only 29.7 percent of the
total faculty of 1,212. In 1957 Little Rock made national
headlines as Federal troops escorted nine black children to
enroll at Central High School when the school district was
ordered to desegregate its public schools. In the following
years a number of desegregation plans were implemented until
1975 when the district was totally desegregated.
Nashville, Tennessee , the State capital, is the urban
and economic hub of the 36-county middle Tennessee area.
Nashville and Davidson County have a consolidated government
and a metropolitan school district known as the Metro
Nashville-Davidson School District. In 1970 Davidson County
had a total population of 4 4 8,000; approximately 19.9
percent was black. The 197 5 student population was 80,165,
with 23,372 (29 percent) blacks. Total faculty in 1975
numbered 4,500, with 1,092 (24.2 percent) blacks. The
school district implemented court-ordered desegregation in
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Newport News, Virginia r in the southeastern portion of
the State on the James River, is an urban area with a total
population in 1970 of 138,177 and a black population of
39,208 (28 percent.) The school population of the Newport
News Public Schools in 1975 totaled 30,268, of which 37
percent was black. Minority faculty representation (36.3
percent) paralleled the minority student enrollment. Early
efforts to desegregate in the late 1950s and in 1965 when
the school district operated a freedom-of-choice plan did
not eliminate the dual school system. After continued
pressure from the Department of Health, Education, and
Welfare resulting in a cutoff of Federal funds and a court
order, the Newport News Public Schools implemented a
comprehensive desegregation plan in 1971.
Ogden, Utah , is a medium-sized city with a population
of 7 3,283. Minority students constituted 20 percent of the
1975 student population of 15,665. Mexican Americans are
the largest minority group (1,850), Native Americans are
second (639) , and blacks, third (508) . During the 1974-75
school year the district employed a total of 605 teachers;
96.2 percent of all teachers were white. Desegregation
efforts began in 1970 in the Ogden City School District
after the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
notified the district that it had a racially identifiable
school in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of
196U. Final desegregation efforts were implemented in 1975.
Ossining Onion Free School District No. 1, New York,
serves the Village of Ossining, a portion of the Village of
Briarcliff Manor, and portions of the Towns of Ossining, New
Castle, and Yorktown. The population of this suburban area
is approximately 47,000, and blacks and Puerto Ricans are
the major minority groups. In the 197 4-75 school year the
district enrolled a total of 15,136 students of which blacks
constituted 19 percent and Puerto Ricans, 5 percent. By
contrast, the faculty of 300 had only 33 (11 percent)
minority members. After notification from the State board
of education in 1969, the district began consideration of
its segregation problems and in 1974 implemented a
Peoria, Illinois , is an urban area in the north-central
portion of the State with a population of 126,962. Blacks
totaled 14,492. The student enrollment in 1975 was 23,907,
of which 26 percent was black, and less than 1 percent was
other minorities, other minorities totaled only 232. Of
1,282 faculty members, only 7.3 percent was minority. The
Peoria Public School District No. 150 implemented a partial
desegregation plan in 1969 which achieved a reduction in
racial isolation. Since that time, shifts in housing
patterns have caused resegregation.
Portland, Oregon , a port city of 382,619 on the
Willamette River, has a minority population of 31,984, of
which the majority (21,572) is black. Portland School
District No. 1 had a student enrollment in 1975 of 62,028 —
12.5 percent black, 4.5 percent other minorities. Eight
percent of a faculty totaling 3,778 was minority. Beginning
in 1964 the district initiated a variety of programs in an
effort to reduce racial isolation such as voluntary
transfer, which evolved into a desegregation plan.
Providence, Rhode Island , is the capital of the State
and its largest city. In 1975 an estimated 165,000 persons
resided in Providence; 10 percent was black. The 1975
public school population was 20,680, of which 2 5 percent was
black. In contrast, minorities made up less than 8 percent
of the faculty. The Providence School District initiated a
three-phase desegregation plan in 1967, which was completed
Racine County, Wisconsin , located on the shores of Lake
Michigan, had a 1970 population of 170,838, of which 6.6
percent was black. Unified School District No. 1 of Racine
County enrolled 28,757 students in 1975. The district has
25 percent minority population (5,739), mostly black (4,084)
with 1,5U2 of Spanish origin. Only 13U of 1,590 (18.4
percent) faculty members were minority. Desegregation
efforts began as early as 1961. In 1975 the current
desegregation plan was implemented.
Raleigh County, West Virginia , is a rural, coal-mining
district of 70,080 with 6,880 blacks. In 1975 Raleigh
County Schools enrolled 17,338 students, of whom 10 percent
was black. In comparison, 8.6 percent of the faculty was
black. In 1956 the county initiated a voluntary transfer
plan. In 196U the district began consolidating its schools,
and desegregation was completed in 1973 when, under pressvure
from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, a
two-phase plan was implemented.
Santa Barbara, California , is a coastal city of 75,000
in the southern portion of the State. It has a minority
population of 14,000, of which 12,570 are of Speinish origin,
1,500, black, and 600, Asian American. Of the 1975 public
school enrollment, H8 percent was minority, compared to 8.4
percent of the faculty. As a result of State
recommendations, the Santa Barbara School District developed
a desegregation plan in 1972 to be implemented in three
phases. To date only two schools have been involved.
Phases two and three of the desegregation plan have not been
Springfield, Massachusetts , a city in the southwestern
area of the State, had a 1970 population of 163,905, of
which 13 percent was nonwhite.26 9 m 1975 the school district's
enrollment was 28,839, with 7,668 black and 3,844 Spanish-
surnamed students (primarily Puerto Ricans.) While almost
UO percent of the students was minority, only 9.2 percent of
the faculty was minority. In response to the 1965
Massachusetts Racial Imbalance Law, the district in 1966
began efforts to eliminate racial imbalance. In 1974 a
final desegregation plan was implemented.
Tempe ^ Arizona , a suburb of Phoenix, is a small
university city with a 1970 population of 62,90 7 persons.
Of this total, approximately 14 percent were minorities —
Mexican Americans (12 percent) , blacks (1 percent) , others
(1 percent) . In 1975 Tempe Elementary School District No. 3
enrolled 13,48 2 elementary children. Mexican American
students accounted for 16 percent of the total, black
students for 3 percent, and Native Americans for 0.5
percent. Of 671 faculty members, 11.7 percent was minority.
In 1971 the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
notified the district that it had racially identifiable
schools in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of
1964. In 1973 the district implemented a desegregation
Tacoma, Washington , is a port city in the western
portion of the State on Puget Sound. The city's 1970
population was 154,581 with 10,436 blacks, 2,248 Spanish-
surnamed, 1,703 Native Americans, and 1,689 Asian Americans.
Tacoma Public School District No. 10 enrolled 32,671
students in 1975, and 6,101 (18.6 percent) were minority.
Only 9.7 percent of a faculty of 1,612 was minority. In
196 6 the school district initiated a limited optional
enrollment plan and in 1967, a more extensive open
enrollment plan. Although there was no specific
"desegregation plan," all schools were desegregated by 1971.
Tulsa, Oklahoma , a central city with a 197 population
of 330,350, is located in northeastern Oklahoma on the
Arkansas River. Once known as the oil capital of the
Nation, Tulsa has an 1 1 percent black population and a 3
percent Native American population. The Tulsa Independent
School District had a 1975 student enrollment of 64,207, of
which blacks and Native Americans, the largest minority
groups, constituted 17.7 percent and 4.4 percent,
respectively. Of 3,179 faculty members, 13.7 percent was
black. 27 Tulsa's first desegregation efforts were made in
1955 when the district established new neighborhood
attendance areas to eliminate the dual school system
previously required by State law. After other efforts,
Tulsa began implementation of a three-phase desegregation
plan in 1971.
Waterloo, Iowa, population 75,563, is located in the
northeast-central section of the State. Blacks, the only
significant minority group, constitute 8 percent of the
population. In 1975 the Waterloo School District enrolled
16,312 students, of which 8 percent was black. The
faculty totaled 938, with 56 blacks (5.9 percent). The
district began its first efforts to desegregate in 1968 with
the initiation of an open enrollment program which was
followed by limited redistricting. In 1973 a plan was
implemented which completed the desegregation process.
Wichita, Kansas , located in the south-central part of
the State on the Arkansas River, is a city of 276,718
persons, 9.8 percent of whom are black and 3.5 percent, of
Spanish origin. The Wichita School District's 1975
population was 51,907. Blacks students numbered 9,530 and
students of Spanish origin, 1,502, with 845 other
minorities. Minorities made up 11.3 percent of a 3,13U-
member faculty. The district's first efforts to desegregate
began in 1969 under pressure from the Department of Health,
Education, and Welfare. In 1971 a comprehensive
desegregation plan was implemented.
Williamsburg County, South Carolina , is a rural area
with a total population of 3U,243, most of whom (61 percent)
are black. The student population for Williamsburg County
Schools (9,075) is 80 percent black. The faculty of 467 is
63 percent black. Required to do so by the Department of
Health, Education, and Welfare, the district desegregated in
1970 and 1971.
Experiences with School Desegregation
Analysis of the desegregation experiences of the 29
school districts is based upon information solicited from
school systems and personal interviews with nearly 900
persons. The impressions and perceptions of school
officials, teachers, students, and business, political,
religious, and other community leaders in each school
district have been analyzed and collated to provide a
profile of each district's most recent school desegregation
experience. (See table 2.3)
The Commission found that desegregation has been
implemented smoothly without disruption in 27 of the
communities. Of the 29 school districts analyzed, 9 were
under court order; 11 desegregated under pressure from the
Department of Health, Education, and Welfare or a State
department of education; and 9 had voluntarily desegregated.
The most frequent methods used to desegregate were
DESEOREQATION IN 29 SCHOOL DISTRICTS
Leaderihlp Support for Deieqraqation Outeomeg of Dea«qr«qation
& 8 -S
Colorado Springs, Colo.
Corpus Chrlsti, Tex.
Dorchester County, Md.
Little Rock, Ark.
Newport News , va ■
Racine County, Wis.
Raleigh County, W,Va.
Santa Barbara, Calif.
Williameburg County, S.C
V - Voluntary.
CO ■ Court Order.
HEW - Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
S - State Department of Education.
* <M The overall progress of desegregation was determined on the basis of the
perceptions and impressions of persona interviewed in each community.
1 = Little Progress.
2 = Moderate Progress.
3 = Substantial Progress.
P = Actions or attitudes which created a positive atmosphere for desegregation, including public
statements of support and initiation of activities to facilitate desegregation.
C = Actions or attitudes which created a negative atmosphere for desegregation, including public
statements or actions opposing desegregation.
N = Noninvolvement.
NA = Determination could not be made from information jathered in the case study.
Table 2.3 Continued
In rating school districts for the case study investigation,
the following general criteria were used: (1) Little
Progress ; Any district which: (a) has undergone only
token desegregation and where segregation remains a serious
problem; (b) experienced serious problem in undergoing
desegregation. (2) Moderate Progress ; Any district which:
(a) experienced minimal interracial violence in and around
schools since 6 months after implementation of desegregation;
(b) had no evidence of significant increases in dropouts or
absenteeism; (c) is not currently involved in litigation
concerning an inadequate plan to desegregate or refusal or
failure to desegregate in accordance with a plan; (d) is
considered by the National Association for the Advancement
of Colored People, the Department of Health, Education, and
Welfare, State human rights organizations, or other civil
rights organizations to have made moderate progress in
desegregation. (3) Substantial Progress : Any district
which meets the criteria for moderate progress and at least
three of the following conditions: (a) minimal interracial
violence during and since implementation of desegregation;
(b) curriculum modifications that refect multiracial-multi-
ethnic nature of the student body; (c) multiracial-
multiethnic committee used to develop guidelines for disci-
pline immediately before or since desegregation; (d) train-
ing provided teachers to prepare them for training in multi-
racial-multiethnic environment; (e) at least moderate
integration of extracurricular activities across racial-
ethnic lines; (f) distribution of minority teachers within
schools in approximately the same proportion as they are
represented in the district as a whole; (g) little or no
white flight as a result of desegregation. As a result, 19
districts were found to have made substantial progress, 7
moderate progress, and 3 little, if any, progress.
reassignments and school closings. However, all districts
used various combinations of reassignment, school closings,
rezoning, pairing, grade structure reorganization, magnet
schools, new construction, open enrollment, and
School and Community Leadership
Active support and leadership from the school
administration was found to be a factor in the desegregation
process. In 26 of the 29 communities studied, the school
administration supported desegregation and was instrumental
in paving the way for the smooth implementation of
desegregation in the community. Examples of positive
superintendent actions include making public statements in
support of desegregation, appointing human relations
committees, and initiating activities and programs to
facilitate the desegregation process.
School board support for desegregation is also
important to effective implementation of desegregation. In
more than half of the school districts, school boards
supported desegregation. Advocacy from both the school
administration and the school board was evident in 1U of the
Leadership from other community sources often made a
valuable contribution to the desegregation process. In some
communities various political, business, and religious
leaders publicly supported school desegregation. In
Greenville, Mississippi, for example, in the face of white
opposition, the mayor, the chief of police, and members of
the city council made public appeals for cooperation and
calm during the desegregation process, and the business
community mounted a campaign to sell desegregation to its
opponents. Similarly, the business community in Nashville,
Tennessee, advertised in support of peaceful desegregation.
In Colorado Springs, Colorado, where community leaders did
not actively support desegregation, a businessman said,
"Desegregation has been as simple as changing to one-way
streets — inconvenient but one of the least of our problems
in this community."
In 27 school districts special efforts were made to
facilitate desegregation, including activities designed to
inform the community on the progress of desegregation, to
dispel rumors, to answer questions, to handle crises, and
generally to smooth the way. In Tacoma, Washington, a
summer counseling program made more than 1,500 home visits
to provide parents and students an opportunity to consider
options about new schools and voluntary transfers. In
Newport News, Virginia, the superintendent established a
hotline to respond to rumors and emphasized to school
personnel the importance of accurately answering questions
from parents and students. Open houses, prior to opening
day or during the first weeks of school, were held in
Newport News, Virginia; Greenville, Mississippi; and
Kirkwood, Missouri. Kirkwood developed a series of
information sheets to inform and involve the community in
the impending reorganization. Direct mail to parents
explaining desegregation and soliciting cooperation was a
project in Tempe, Arizona, and Greenville, Mississippi. Ice
cream socials and orientation programs for incoming students
were held in Racine, Wisconsin. Other districts mounted
bumper sticker campaigns, promoted television discussion
programs, and conducted speaker bureaus.
Quality of Education
School desegregation usually requires some revamping of
a school system. Administrators often take this opportunity
to make needed changes in curriculum, facilities,
organization, and teaching methodology. Often the result is
that overall quality of education is improved.
In Kalamazoo, Michigan, the school administration began
a systemwide revision of teaching methods to provide more
individualized instruction and also developed an
accountability model to measure student progress. In the
Kirkwood R-7 School District, improvement of the educational
program was one of the reasons given by the school
administration for its reorganization which brought about
desegregation. One of their endeavors was to initiate new
teaching procedures. Team teaching was introduced in Santa
Barbara and Greenville for a more individualized approach.
In Ogden, Utah, the superintendent said, "Based on reading
test scores there is evidence that our desegregation has had
a noticeable [positive] effect on the quality of education."
Staff training is a vital aspect of a desegregation
program when teachers are to be working with students of
diverse cultures. Training was provided for teachers in 24
of the 29 districts studied. This training encompassed such
factors as human relations, the diversity of a multicultural
society, and retraining in academic areas. In Tempe,
Arizona, 20 percent of the teachers received intensive
training on the problems of minority students and the
cultural differences among Anglo, Mexican American, and
Yaqui Indian children. In Ogden, more than 80 percent of
the faculty received intensive training in multicultural
sensitivity and continue to receive training.
Twenty-three school systems made curriculum changes,
which often included ethnic studies and bilingual education
to meet the needs of a desegregated student body. In Tempe,
however, the Mexican American and Yaqui Indian communities
were critical of desegregation because bilingual-bicutural
education was not provided for their children. In
Providence, Rhode Island, a nongraded curriculum, innovative
programs at two model schools, and a cross-cultural approach
to social studies were introduced. The Erie, Pennsylvania,
school district instituted minicourses to give students a
greater variety of course offerings.
Bogalusa perhaps exemplifies the community where
desegregation has not been successful because the
administration failed to make an effort to succeed. School
desegregation received no support from school administrators
or from the white community. Very little effort was made to
facilitate desegregation or prepare the community for
acceptance of the plan. There were no curriculum changes.
The white faculty was hostile and unprepared for the
challenges of desegregation; black students have been the
victims of continued classroom segregation. In the 7 years
since desegregation, attitudes have not changed. There are
still two teachers' unions, one white, one black; there are
two proms, one white, one black; there is still classroom
segregation. In Bogalusa, where the school and community
failed to seize the initiative to prepare for a smooth
transition, the quality of education offered all students
In most of the 29 school districts, minority and white
students are learning to live together harmoniously.
Students in Nashville have said that the most important
aspect of desegregation is that it brings a better
understanding and appreciation of students of different
races and backgrounds. Students in Raleigh County, West
Virginia, and Williamsburg, South Carolina, expressed
positive feelings about a desegregated education. They view
it as an asset in a multiracial society. A white PTA
president in Providence said, "The future looks good on the
basis of the experience of a new generation which never
attended anything but desegregated schools. "
The objective of the national survey was to collect
factual and attitudinal data on the recent desegregation
experiences of a random sample of 1,292 school districts,
8.1 percent of the Nation's 16,032 districts, with nearly 70
percent of the Nations minority students. These districts
represent 47 percent of all school systems in the country
which have enrollments of more than 1,500 students and are
at least 5.0 percent minority. Usable responses were
obtained from 993 school superintendents, or 77 percent of
sampled school districts. 272
Data from the questionnaires were merged with
demographic data on the school districts which had been
collected by the Office for Civil Rights of the Department
of Health, Education, and welfare. 2^3 Some of the following
analyses deal only with information from Commission
questionnaires, some with information from the Office for
Civil Rights, and others with both sources.
Year of Desegregation
According to responses from superintendents, 612 or
approximately two-thirds of the school districts have taken
substantial steps to desegregate. Of these, 92 desegregated
prior to 1966, but most (84 percent) have desegregated
during the past decade, particularly in the 4-year period
1968-71. (See table 2.4.) Of those that have desegregated,
the courts were reported to be the most important impetus in
34 percent of the school districts; HEW, in 25 percent; and
local pressures, in 41 percent. The courts and HEW played
their most active roles during the period 1968-71, while
over the last 4 years locally-initiated plans have assumed
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Desegregation by Region
Considerable variation exists among regions in the
scope of desegregation efforts. Southern districts were
most affected by desegregation, but desegregation occurred
to a significant extent in other regions as well. As shown
in table 2.5, only 5 percent of the 305 districts in the
Southeast had not taken significant steps to desegregate.
Approximately one-third of the districts in the Northeastern
and North central States, and 23 percent of those in the
West, had taken significant steps to desegregate during the
decade. Of the 196 incidents of desegregation achieved
\inder court pressure, TH, or 72 percent, were in the
southeastern region. (See map 2.2.) Despite recent
publicity given court actions in Northern and Western
States, the intervention of the courts has been concentrated
in the Southern States; Commission data show that nearly
half of those districts that desegregated were concentrated
in Southern States.
Nature and Extent of Desegregation
To measure the extent to which desegregation was
actually achieved within a school district, a previously
developed index of segregation^^* was used to analyze
changes over time. The data used to compute the index were
provided by the Office for Civil Rights (HEW) . The index
ranges from zero (no segregation) to 1.0 (complete
segregation) . It measures the extent to which minority
pupils are evenly distributed among the schools in a
district. For instance, if the proportion of minority
pupils is the same in every school in the district, the
index would be zero (no segregation) . The more disparate
the proportions of minority pupils are in the various
schools, the higher the index will be; so that, if some
schools have 100 percent minority enrollment and all the
others have no minority enrollment, the index would be 1.0.
If the index of segregation is below 0.20, the level of
segregation may be described as relatively low. If the
index of segregation is greater than 0.50, the degree of
segregation in the district is substantial.
Table 2.6 shows the changes in the index of segregation
from 196 8 to 1972. In the 878 school districts for which
complete data are available, the average index of
segregation fell from 0.37 to 0.12 during the 4 years 1968
to 1972. For those districts that took substantial steps to
desegregate, the average index reduced from 0.53 to 0.12.
These sampled districts encompass 7,355,000 students, or 15
percent of the Nation's total student enrollment. Those 384
districts that experienced their major desegregation before
1966 or took no substantial steps to desegregate, according
to the school superintendents, showed a reduction from 0.17
in 1968 to 0.11 in 1972. Of these districts, 301, or 6
percent, still had levels of segregation greater than 0.50
The changes were greatest in the Southern and Border
States. According to school enrollment data provided by the
Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, the index of
segregation of the sampled school districts in the
Southeastern States fell from 0.65 in 1968 to 0.09 in 1972.
Among school districts desegregated during the decade,
substantial reduction was also obtained in the North Central
and Western States.
Nationwide, the reduction in the index of segregation
was greatest in those districts where the impetus for
desegregation came from the courts. Here the index dropped
from 0.74 in 1968 to 0.15 in 1972. Districts subject to
court order were those initially marked by a high degree of
segregation. Thus, the imposition of court plans brought a
fundamental change in the racial distribution of students
within affected school systems between 1968 and 1972.
The remaining vestiges of public school segregation,
according to 1972 data, appear to be concentrated in the
school districts in larger cities; that is, those districts
with an enrollment greater than 50,000. The index of
segregation for the sampled school districts in these cities
which reported steps to desegregate during the decade fell
from 0.54 in 1968 to 0.27 in 1972. The index indicates that
segregation in smaller cities and rural areas was greatly
White Withdrawal from Schools
There has been considerable controversy over the
withdrawal of white children from the public schools as a
response to school desegregation. By combining information
from the Office for Civil Rights (HEW) on the proportion of
white students in the school district and Commission survey
data, it has been possible to examine the relationship
between desegregation and the loss of whites from the public
schools. Table 2.7 presents this data by showing the nvimber
of school districts desegregated over the decade, 2 75 the
impetus for desegregation, the average percentage loss of
white students, and the proportion of blacks enrolled in the
district's schools. Between the years 1968 and 1972, the
average percentage loss of white students from all 1,164
districts was 6 percent.
Very little variation is evident in the average
reduction of proportion of white students between the
districts that have desegregated and those that have not; or
between those that have desegregated by court order, by HEW
pressure, or by local initiative. These data, therefore, do
not support the inference that there is a general
relationship between desegregation and reduction in
proportion of white students, or between desegregation by
court order and such reductions. There was no significant
difference between districts that desegregated under
pressure from the courts and all districts in the sample.
The proportion of black students does appear to be
related to the reduction in the percentage of white
students. Between 1968 and 1972 districts which were
greater than 40 percent black in 1968 experienced a
reduction of 15 percentage points in the proportion of white
students, a significantly greater loss than for districts
with lower proportions of black enrollment. Among districts
with equivalent proportions of minority enrollment, those
that desegregated under pressure from the courts show no
greater losses in white enrollment than other districts.
Although these data do not exclude the possibility or even
likelihood that many individual white families do withdraw
their children from public schools when desegregation occurs
or is expected to occur, those individual decisions are not
of sufficient magnitude to create a pattern of specific
association between desegregation and loss of white
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Desegregation and Disruption
Superintendents of those school districts that
desegregated during the last decade reported that the
overwhelming majority (82 percent) desegregated without
serious disruption. 2 76 of the 96 respondents who indicated
serious disruption, only 6 are outside Southern or Border
States. Disruption was more likely to occur in those
districts under court order than in those districts that
took substantial steps without court order.
According to respondent superintendents in districts
desegregated during the last decade, the extra assignment of
police took place in 1 school district in every 15. Of the
3t» districts in the sample that required extra assignment of
police, 26 were in Southern and Border States. In only 10
districts did the additional police assignments exceed 2
months. In about half of the cases where police were
assigned, the educational process was reported disrupted for
a period exceeding 2 weeks.
Perceived Quality of Schools
School superintendents of the desegregated school
districts reported positive attitudes toward schools and
little change in the quality of education after
desegregation. Among these superintendents, 75 percent saw
no change in quality, 15 percent reported improvement, and
only 10 percent reported deterioration. Seven percent
described the quality of education as fair or poor, whereas
62 percent said it was good, and 31 percent considered it
Diiring the years since the implementation of
desegregation, superintendents reported a marked change in
community attitudes toward school desegregation in most
school districts. According to superintendents, while
general opposition among white parents prevailed prior to
desegregation, there is now widespread support. Of the
desegregated districts, 20 percent of the superintendents
reported that desegregation had the support of white parents
and business leaders prior to implementation of
desegregation. The support of these groups is now seen in
over half of the districts. (See figures 2.1 and 2.2.)
General support for desegregation by minority parents was
reported in 79 percent of the desegregated districts.
Summary of Findings from Survey
The survey of school districts' experiences provides
the following findings:
• Extent of Desegregation — Among school districts
with enrollments in excess of 1,500 and 5 percent minority
students, 54 percent took substantial steps to desegregate
during the 1966-75 decade. The courts were described as the
most important impetus for desegregation in 37 percent of
the desegregated districts. While desegregation was most
concentrated in the South, substantial desegregation
occurred in other parts of the country, affecting 33 percent
of districts in the northeastern and north central regions.
• Nature of Desegregation - -The districts that took
substantial steps to desegregate showed major reductions in
segregation, especially in those districts desegregated
under court pressure. Courts were reported to act primarily
when the degree of existing segregation was high.
• Withdrawal of Whites — while many school districts
lost significant numbers of white students as shown by
enrollment changes from 1968 to 1972, there are no
significant differences between those districts that
desegregate under pressure from the courts and HEW, and all
districts in the country. The data do show that loss of
white students is greater where black enrollments exceed UO
• Disruption — The overwhelming majority (82 percent)
of school districts that desegregated are reported to have
done so without serious disruption.
• Community Acceptance — A majority of school
superintendents of the schools desegregated during the last
decade state that both white parents and minority parents
generally support desegregation. Moreover, after
desegregation there was a dramatic positive change in the
attitudes of white parents.
Figure 2.1 -BUSINESS LEADERS: general response to school desegregation, just before
desegregation and in 1976, in districts that desegregated
1966-75, as reported by school superintendents.
Figure 2.2-NONMINORITY PARENTS: general response to school desegregation, just before
desegregation and in 1976, in districts that desegregated
1966-75, as reported by school superintendents.
Notes to Chapter II
1. statement on New School Desegregation by the U.S.
Commission on Civil Rights, Nov. 11, 1975.
2. These Commission reports include: 1961 Report , vol. 2,
Education; Southern School Desegregation, 1966 -67; Racial
Isolation in the Public Schools (1967) ; Federal Enforcement
of School Desegregation (1969) ; Your Child and Busing
(1972) ; Five Communities: Their Search for Equal Education
(1972) ; The Diminishing Barrier: A Report on School
Desegregation in Nine Communities (1972) ; School
Desegregation in Ten Communities (1973) ; Twenty Years After
Brown; Eguality of Educational Opportunity (1975) ; and The
Federal Civil Rights Enforcement Effort - 197t»; To Ensure
Egual Educational Opportunity (1975) .
Studies dealing with equal education problems among
language-minority students include the 6 -volume Mexican
American Education Project: Ethnic Isolation of Mexican
Americans in the Public Schools of the Southwest (1971; The
Unfinished Education (1971; The Excluded Student (1972) ;
Mexican American Education in Texas; A Function of Wealth
(1972) ; Teachers and Students (1973) ; Toward Quality
Education for Mexican Americans (197U) ; and a recent study,
A Better Chance to Learn; Bilingual - Bicultural Education
The Commission has also explored developments in school
desegregation in its quarterly journal, the Civil Rights
Digest . The Summer 1973 issue, for example, was devoted
entirely to school desegregation.
3. See, for example, John Egerton, School Desegregation; A
Report Card from the South (Atlanta: Southern Regional ~
Council, 1976) .
a. The Commission has an Advisory Committee in each State
and in the District of Columbia which reports on local civil
rights issues and developments.
5. U.S., Commission Civil Rights, staff report. School
Desegregation in Boston (June 1975), p. 63. (hereafter
cited as School Desegregation in Boston) . Mass. Gen. L. Ch.
71 §§37C and 37D (1969) (Supp. 1975).
6. U.S., Department of Health, Education, and Welfare,
Office for Civil Rights, Elementary and Secondary Public
School Survey, Fall 1973.
7. U.S., Commission on Civil Rights, Desegregati ng the
Boston Public Schools; A Crisis in Civic Responsibility
(August 1975) (hereafter cited as Crisis in Civic
Responsibility ) , p. xvi.
8. Ibid. , p. xvii.
9. Morgan v. Hennigan, 379 F. Supp. 410 (D. Mass. 1974) .
10. Id. at H2H.
11. Id. at 476-77.
12. School Desegregation in Boston , p. 77.
13. Boston Globe , May 25, 1975, p. A- 15, summarizing events
of the previous year.
14. Crisis in Civic Responsibility , p. v.
15. U.S., Commission on Civil Rights, hearing, Boston,
Mass., June 16-20, 1975, transcript, p. 283 (hereafter cited
as Boston transcript) .
16. Boston transcript, p. 329.
17. Ibid., testimony of John McDonough, p. 1057.
18. Ibid., testimony of John Kerrigan, p. 1057A.
19. The testimony of one school* committee member
degenerated to the level of name-calling with respect to the
Vice Chairman of the Commission. See testimony of John
Kerrigan, Boston transcript, p. 1090.
20. Ibid., testimony of Boston City Council members Louise
Day Hicks, Gerald O'Leary, Lawrence Di Cara, and Albert
O'Neil, pp. 1226-65.
21. Boston transcript, p. 967.
22. Boston transcript, p. U72.
23. Ibid., pp. 967-68.
24- School Desegregation in Boston , p. 100.
25. Ibid., p. 98.
26. James E. Fisk and Raymond T. Galvin, "Report on the
Boston Police Department during the 1974-75 School
Desegregation," report to the U.S. Commission on Civil
Rights, June 30, 1975, p. 16.
27. Boston transcript, p. 23U.
28. Affidavit of Paul V. Smith, educational data analyst.
Children's Defense Fund of the Washington Research Project,
Inc., filed in Morgan v. Kerrigan, Civ. Action No. 72-911-G.
^' Boston transcript, testimony of Donald Burgess, acting
headmaster, Roslindale High School, p. 636-37.
30. Ibid., testimony of Helen Moran, former headmistress,
Roslindale High School, pp. 625-26.
31. Ibid., Burgess testimony, pp. 63t-35.
32- Memorandum of Decision and Remedial Orders, Morgan v.
Kerrigan, UOI F. Supp. 270 (D. Mass. 1975), motion for stay
denied, 523 F.2d 917 (1975).
33. Boston transcript, p. 94-95.
^^' Ibid., p. 709.
35. Ibid., Atkins testimony, pp. 955-56.
^^ Ibid., 0« Sullivan testimony, pp. 706-707. Mr.
0« Sullivan noted the "filth, the paint peeling off the
walls. The girls' gym hadn't been heated in 3 years... the
ladies' room for the girl students hadn't had doors on them
for 2 years."
37* Edward Redd, executive director, Boston NAACP,
interview, Boston, Mass., July 14, 1976; and Boston Globe,
July 1976, p. 82.
38. Tom Marshall, field representative. Community Relations
Service, U.S. Department of Justice, Region I, telephone
interview, July 13, 1976.
39, Martin Walsh, Regional Director, Community Relations
Service, U.S. Department of Justice, Region I, telephone
interview, July 13, 1976.
40. Appointed Apr. 2 9, 1976, the 13-member committee met
with senior city and State officials and community leaders
and issued a report calling, among other things, for
stronger leadership by the mayor, a uniform code of
discipline for the school system, and a more
"representative" Boston School Committee. Mayor's Committee
on Violence, memorandum to Mayor Kevin White, June 23, 1976.
42. Marion Fahey, superintendent; Charles Leftwich,
associate superintendent; Paul Kennedy, associate
superintendent; Luis Perullo, director of evaluation;
Francis X. Rich, acting director for reading; Jean Sullivan,
Office of (Desegregation) Implementation, interviews, July
13 and It, 1976.
43. School Department Annual Report, p. 16.
44. Edward Redd, interview, July 14, 1976.
45. Jessica Pearson and Jeff Pearson, "Litigation and
Community Change: Desegregation of the Denver Public
Schools," February 1976.
46. U.S., Commission on Civil Rights, transcript of public
hearings, Denver, Colo., Feb. 17-19, 1976, testimony of
Minoru Yasui, Denver Commission on Community Relations,
transcript, pp. 201-02 (hereafter cited as Denver
47. Pearson and Pearson, "Litigation and Community Change,"
48. Ibid., pp. 39-42.
49. Ibid., p. 46.
51, Keyes v. School District No. 1, 313 F. Supp. 61 and 313
F. Supp. 90 (D. Colo. 1970) af f d in part, rev* d in part and
remanded , HH5 F.2d 990 (10th Cir. 1971), modified and
remanded , 413 U.S. 189 (1973), 368 F. Supp. 207 (D. Colo.
1973), 380 F. Supp. 673 (D. Colo. 1974), aff d in part,
rev*d in part and remanded 521 F. 2d 465 (10th Cir. 1975) ,
cert, denied 46 L.Ed. 2d 657 (1976).
52, 413 U.S. 189, 198 (1973).
53, Keyes v. School District No. 1, 46 L.Ed. 2d 657.
54, Denver transcript, p. 26.
55, Ibid., p. 542.
p. 533 (Board Resolution No. 1796, May 10,
see, for example, testimony of Paul Blue,
executive director, KRMA-TV, p. 749.
testimony of Richard E. Wylie, dean. School of
University of Colorado at Denver, p. 158.
pp. 389, 795, 523.
69. Ibid., p. 308.
70. Ibid., p. 1065-66.
71. Ibid.r p. 1042.
72. Ibid., p. 99.
73. Ibid., p. 635.
74. Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. §22-24-101 et seq. (Cum. Supp.
75. Denver transcript, p. 97.
76. Ibid. , p. 503.
77. Ibid,, p. 969. (Less than 5 percent of the system's
teachers are Hispano.)
78. Ibid., p. 255.
79. Ibid., p. 1013.
80. U.S., Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census,
Statistical Abstract of the United states, 1974 , p. 906.
81. U.S., Department of Commerce, Bureau of the census,
1970 Census of Population, Characteristics of the
Population , Vol. I, Part 11, Florida, Section I, p. 11 — 163,
11-536 (hereafter cited as 1970 Census ) .
82. Hillsborough County, Planning Commission, Population
and Housing Estimates: Apr. 1, 1970-Jan. 1, 1975, April
83. 1970 Census, p. 11-206 and Hillsborough County
Population Estimates , p. 22.
84. 197 census , pp. 11-311, 11-341.
65. Each of Florida's 67 counties has a school district.
86. Hillsborough County, Elementary and Secondary Pupil
Survey (1975) .
87. Mannings v. Board of Public Instruction of Hillsborough
county, Florida, No. 355a Civ. T (M.D. Fla. decided May 11,
88. Id. at 4.
89. Id. at 8-9.
90. Mannings v. Bd. of Public Instruction 306 F. Supp. 497
(M.D. Fla. 1969) .
91. Mannings v. Bd. of Public Instruction 427 F. 2d 874
(5th Cir. 1970) . For definitions of these and other
desegregation techniques, see "Restructuring of School
92. Hillsborough County School Desegregation Plan, 1971.
93. U.S., Commission on Civil Rights, Five Communities;
Their search for Equal Education (1972) , and School
Desegregation in Ten Communities (1973) .
94. U.S., Commission on Civil Rights, hearing, Tampa, Fla.,
Mar. 29-31, 1976 (hereafter cited as Tampa transcript).
95. Tampa transcript, p. 38.
96. Ibid., p. 39.
97. Tampa Tribune editorial, July 7, 1971.
98. Tampa transcript, p. 177.
99. Ibid., p. 559.
100. Ibid., p. 564-65.
101. Ibid., p. 293.
102. Ibid., pp. 292-93.
103. Ibid., p. 331.
104. Ibid., p. 62.
105. Louisville Area Chamber of Commerce, Louisville Area
Directory of Manufacturers , 1975-76.
106. Louisville Area Chamber of Commerce, Louisville Fact
File Manpower , p. 10, undated.
107. Ibid., p. 11.
108. Louisville Area Chamber of Commerce, Louisville
Business Trends , 1975.
109. Percentages which were unavailable for 1975 are based
on 1970 U.S. Bureau of the Census, County and City Databook
- 1972 .
110. Jefferson County Board of Education, Nximber of Black
and White Pupils and Percentage Black, Nov 17, 1975.
111. Newburg Area Council, Inc. v. Board of Education, U89
F. 2d 925, 929 (6th Cir. 1973).
112. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §158.130.
113. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §160.041(1971).
114. At the time of the vote, however, it was clear that if
a merger were not effected under State law, the Federal
district court would have required merger pursuant to a
sixth circuit ruling in December 1974 calling for
interdistrict remedy. Newburg Area Council, Inc. v. Board
of Education, 510 F.2d 1358 (6th Cir. 197t») .
115. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §160.041(1971). A specific
statutory provision insuring representation of Louisville
constituencies on a merged board in the event the Louisville
Board decided to cease operations was adopted by the State
legislature in 1975.
116. Louisville Public Schools, Department of Education and
Research, 1974-75 Membership Report, p. 61.
117. U.S., Commission on Civil Rights, hearing, Louisville,
Ky., June 14-16, 1976, testimony of John Bell, Jefferson
County Board of Education, p. 821-22 (hereafter cited as
Louisville transcript) .
118. Marie T. Doyle, "The Public School Merger Issue in
Jefferson county, Kentucky" (doctoral dissertation) ,
University of Kentucky, 1974.
119. Jefferson County Public Schools, 1974 - 75 Annual
Statistical Report (January 1976) , p. 2U.
120. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §158.020.
121. Newburg Area Council, Inc. v. Board of Education, U89
F.2d 925, 927-28 (6th Cir. 1973).
122. Id., 489 F.2d at 930.
123. Newburg Area Council, Inc. v. Gordon, 521 F.2d 578 (6th
124. Complaint, Newburg Area Council, Inc. v. Board of
Education, Civil Act. No. 7045, (W.D. Ky. , filed Aug. 27,
125. Complaint, Haycraft v. Board of Education, Civil Act
No. 7291 (W.D. Ky., filed June 22, 1972).
126. Newburg Area Council, Inc. v. Board of Education, 489
F.2d 925 (6th Cir. 1973).
127. Id. at 932.
128. Milliken v. Bradley, 418 U.S. 717 (1974).
12 9. Newburg Area Council, Inc. v. Board of Education, 510
F. 2d 1358, 1360 (6th Cir. 1974).
130. Board of Education v. Newburg Area Council, Inc., 421
U.S. 931 (1975) .
131. Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, Newburg Area
Council, Inc. v. Board of Education, Civil Act. Nos. 7045
and 7291, (W.D. Ky., July 30, 1975).
132. Newburg Area Council, Inc. v. Board of Education, Civil
Act. Nos. 7045 and 7291 (W.D. Ky., appeal argued June 14,
1976, before three- judge panel, decision pending as of July
23, 1976) .
133. Memorandum Order and Opinion, Newburg Area Council,
Inc. V. Board of Education (W.D. Ky., May 18, 1976).
134. Order of Dec. 22, 1975, Newburg Area Council, Inc. v.
Board of Education, C.A. Nos. 7045 and 7291 (W.D. Ky. , Dec.
19, 1975) .
135. Order of Apr. 1, 1976, Newburg Area Council v. Board of
Education, C.A. Nos. 7045 and 7291 (W.D. Ky., March 1976).
136. Louisville transcript, testimony of Darrell Moore,
Durrett High School, p. 27.
137. Ibid., testimony of Wanda Hoosier, Iroquois High
School, p. 30.
138. Ibid., testimony of Mary Theresa McAnnally, Thomas
Jefferson High School, p. 28.
139. Ibid., testimony of Darrell Moore, Durrett High School,
140. Ibid., pp. 76-77.
141. Ibid., p. 392.
142. Ibid., p. 367.
143. Ibid., p. 368.
144. Ibid., p. 442-43.
146. Ibid., testimony of Galen Martin, executive director,
Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, p. 392.
147. Ibid., testimony of Todd Hollenbach, pp. 462-64, 474-
148. Ibid., p. 480.
149. Louisville, Ky., Office of the Mayor, press release,
testimony of Harvey I. Sloane, presented to the Committee on
the Judiciary U.S. Senate, Oct. 29, 1975, p. 14.
150. Louisville transcript, pp. 467-68.
151. Ibid., p. 390.
152. Ibid., testimony of Russell McDaniel, chief, Jefferson
County Police, and Lt. Col. Leslie Pyles, commander,
Kentucky State Police Department, pp. 421-22.
153. Ibid., pp. 398-99, 418-19.
154. Ibid., pp. 419-20, 428-29.
155. Ibid., p. 453.
156. Ibid., p. 190.
157. Ibid., testimony of Roy H. Reubenstahl, vice president
and general manager, ASP Foods, Inc., Louisville Division,
158. Ibid., p. 192.
159. Ibid., testimony of Robert Kling, Kling Company, p.
160. Ibid., pp. 174-75.
161. Ibid., testimony of James L. Watkins, manager, KIMECO
Variety Store, Fairdale, pp. 177-78, 180.
162. Ibid., testimony of Stanley Gault, vice president.
Major Applicance Division, General Electric, p. 205.
163. Ibid., p. 206.
164. Ibid., testimony of John Harmon, president, UAW;
Leonard Smith, executive secretary, AFL-CIO; John Shre,
chairman. United Labor Against Busing, pp. 245-62.
165. Ibid., testimony of Lyman Johnson, p. 387.
166. Ibid., testimony of Galen Martin, p. 375.
167. Ibid., p. 376.
168. Ibid., testimony of Lois Cronholm, p. 379.
169. Ibid., p. 395.
170. Ibid., testimony of John Bell, p. 842.
172. Ibid., testimony of Joel Henning, pp. 678-714.
173. Ibid., testimony of Camellia Brown, chairperson,
Louisville-Jefferson County Defense Project, p. 578.
174. Ibid., p. 579.
175. Ibid., p. 724.
176. Ibid., testimony of J.C. Cantrell, p. 730.
177. Ibid., p. 731.
178. Ibid., testimony of Mary Theresa McAnnally, p. 40.
179. Ibid., p. 722.
180. Ibid., testimony of Mary Theresa McAnnally, p. 29.
181. Ibid., testimony of Gene Bolton, Fairdale High School,
182. Ibid., testimony of Paul Brown, p. 405.
183. Ibid., testimony of Vicki Brewer, Shawnee High School,
184. Ibid., testimony of Fannie Gul, human relations
coordinator. Valley High School, p. 509.
185. Ibid., testimony of Martha Hedrick, teacher, Smyrna
Elementary School, p. 114.
186. Ibid., testimony of Gloria Fischer, president. Parent
Teacher Association, Central High school, p. 602.
187. Ibid., testimony of Robert Cunningham, founder. Parents
for Quality Education, p. 71.
188. U.S., Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census,
Characteristics of the Population , part 6, California , table
6, p. 11.
189. Ibid., table 23, p. 103, and table 96, p. 679. The
Anglo percentage was computed by subtracting the Spanish-
origin population in table 96 from the white population in
190. Berkeley Unified School District, Report of the Student
Racial Census, Fall 1975 (mimeographed), p. 1.
191. U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, California Advisory
Committee open meeting, Berkeley, Calif., Mar. 19, 20, 1976,
transcript , p. B-158. (hereafter cited as Berkeley
192. Berkeley transcript, testimony of Judge Spxirgeon
Avakian, former school board member, p. A-13.
193. Ibid., pp. A-13-15.
194. Carol Sibley, Never a Dull Moment (Berkeley, Calif.:
Documentation and Evaluation of Experimental Projects in
Schools, 1972) , p. 50.
195. Berkeley transcript, p. A-8.
196. Ibid., pp. A-18-19.
197. Ibid., p. A-21.
198. Ibid., pp. A-25-26.
199. Ibid., p. A-U3.
200. Ibid., testimony of Alan Young, counselor, p. B-85.
201. Ibid., pp. B-79-80.
202. Ibid., testimony of Jimmy Harold, Jr., student body
president, Berkeley High School, pp. A-123-2U; testimony of
Donna McKinney, parent, p. B-111; testimony of Judy Bingham,
president, Berkeleyans for Academic Excellence, p. B-182.
203. Ibid., pp. B-124-25.
204. Ibid., p. B-123,
205. Ibid., testimony of Judy Bingham, p. B-182.
206. Ibid., testimony of Clementina Almaguer, coordinator,
Chicano studies program, pp. A-1 72-73.
207. Ibid., p. B-69.
208. Ibid., p. B-69.
209. Ibid., p. A-56.
210. Ibid., p. B-m9.
211. Ibid., p. A-26.
212. U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Minnesota Advisory
Committee, open meeting, Minneapolis, Minn., Apr. 22-24,
1976, transcript, pp. 18-27. (hereafter cited as
Minneapolis transcript) .
213. Ibid., p. 19.
214. Booker v. Special School District No. 1, Minneapolis,
Minn., 351 F. Supp. 799 (D. Minn., 1972).
215. Id. at 802-804.
216. Id. at 803.
217. Id. at 804.
218. Minneapolis transcript, p. 398.
219. Ibid., p. 26. The court recently stated that the
enrollment of any particular minority group could not exceed
35 percent. The total of all minority groups could not
exceed 42 percent in a particular school. Court Order of
May 7, 1975, D. Minn. CA4-71-Civ 382.
220. Minneapolis transcript, p. 18.
221. Ibid., p. 421.
222. Ibid., p. 69.
223. Ibid., pp. 71-72.
224. Ibid., p. 92.
225. Ibid., p. 398.
226- Ibid., pp. 471-72.
392 and 411.
215 and 218.
Department of Commerce
3tics of the Population
table 16, p. 36.
241. Ibid., table 23, p. 53 and table 96, p. 311. The white
percentage was computed by subtracting the Spanish-origin
population in table 96 from the total total white population
in table 23.
242. Moss V. Stamford Board of Educ. 350 F. Supp. 879 (D.
Conn. 1972) .
243. Moss V. Stamford Board of Educ. 356 F. Supp. 675 (D.
Conn. 1973) .
244. U.S., Commission on Civil Rights, Connecticut Advisory
Committee open meeting, Stamford, Conn., Apr. 19, 1976,
transcript (hereafter cited as Stamford transcript) .
245. Stamford transcript, p. 67.
246. Ibid., p. 469.
2H1. Ibid., p. 2HH.
2U8. Ibid., p. 232.
2U9. Ibid., p. 115.
250. Ibid., p. 228.
251. Margaret C. Toner, director of special pupil services,
Stamford School Department, staff interview. Mar. 5, 1976.
252. Ibid., p. aUB.
253. U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census,
Characteristics of the Population , part 45, Texas , table 16,
25a. Ibid., table 23, p. 117 and table 96, p. 683. The
Anglo percentage was computed by subtracting the Spanish-
origin population in table 96 from the total white
population in table 23.
255. 324 F. Supp. 599 (S.D. Texas, 1970) .
256. Ibid., p. 606.
257. Ibid., pp. 617-19.
258. Ibid., p. 620.
259. Cisneros v. Corpus Christi Independent School District,
330 F. Supp. 1377 (S.D. Texas, 1971).
260. Ibid., pp. 1393-96.
261. U.S., Commission on Civil Rights, Texas Advisory
Committee open meeting. Corpus Christi, Tex., May U-5, 1976
(hereafter cited as Corpus Christi transcript) .
262. Ibid., vol. I, p. 17.
263. Ibid., vol. I, p. 39.
26i». Corpus Christi Caller Times , "Busing: First Year is
Relatively Quiet," Dec. 21, 1975, p. 1-C.
26 5. Corpus Christi Caller Times , "Junior High Shuffle Not
Certain," Feb. 18, 1976, p. 1-B
266. Corpus Christi transcript, vol. Ill, p. 86.
267. U.S., Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,
Elementary-Secondary School Staff Information, EEO-5 Public
School System-CCID, Oct. 1, 1975.
268. Four of the case studies — Berkeley, California; Corpus
Christi, Texas; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Stamford,
Connecticut — were also open meeting sites and were described
in the previous section.
269. Person of Spanish origin were classified as white.
270. Native Americans were classified as white.
271. For a definition of these and other desegregation
techniques, see chap. Ill, sec, "Restructuring School
27 2. Unusable responses to the superintendents'
questionnaires were those which left 8 or more questions
unanswered or did not indicate whether the district had
taken steps to desegregate. Because of missing data on some
questionnaires, the number of districts may vary from table
to table. An attempt to sample opinion from others in the
school districts yielded unreliably low levels of usable
responses: only 23 percent of the heads of chambers of
commerce, 35 percent of the NAACP chapter presidents, and 17
percent of the mayors or city managers produced usable
273. Approximately 18 percent of the districts for which
data are available in 1972 do not have comparable data for
1968. Those districts are not included in the analyses.
27U. see James S. Coleman, Sara D. Kelly, and John A. Moore,
Trends in School Segregation, 1968 - 73 (Washington, D.C.: The
Urban Institute, 1975), p. 9.
275. Table 2.7 was also computed for those districts that
desegregated during 1968-72 as well as 1968-70. The
computations showed no significant departure from the
figures presented in table 2.7 for those districts
desegregated throughout the 10-year period.
276. Serious disruption is defined as "serious disruptions
of the educational process for a period greater than two
III. EXPERIENCE WITH SCHOOL DESEGREGATION
The following section describes the various elements of
the desegregation process, including the means by which it
has been and is being brought about in hundreds of school
districts, and the impact that it has on various important
aspects of public education and community life generally.
Perhaps the most important ingredient in successful
school desegregation is leadership, both at the community
level and in the schools. The creation of one desegregated
public school system involves substantial administrative and
social change. The school board, school administrators,
political leaders, police officials, religious and business
groups, the media, and other public and private
organizations can and must explain the law and insist that
it will be enforced. They must also ensure that
desegregation will be achieved through careful and thorough
planning. The record shows that where such leadership
exists, desegregation is more likely to be achieved with
minimal difficulty. Where it is lacking, on the other hand,
desegregation may be accompanied by confusion, anxiety, and
perhaps disruption on the part of students or, more likely,
As part of the planning for school desegregation,
administrators should develop projects to involve and inform
the conununity in all aspects of desegregation. Where such
planning exists, school administrators have been able to
develop support and acceptance of desegregation and bring
the school and community into closer contact. In addition
to examining the role of leadership in desegregation, this
analysis also explores the changes often made in educational
systems in order to make them serve the needs of all
students. Desegregation usually involves a major review of
the educational process. Such a review is certainly
valuable in itself in that it leads to additional training
of teachers and staff, revised curricula and textbooks, new
instructional techniques, and improved physical conditions
at many schools. In such ways, the quality of education is
improved to benefit both white and minority children.
Another subject of concern to some is the technical or
administrative feasibility of achieving desegregation. As
the following section reveals, there are serious
misconceptions about the role of pupil transportation in
desegregation. The experiences of the school districts
studied in connection with this report, however, make clear
that the technical problems in achieving desegregation are
far less formidable than previously believed.
Another subject examined here is faculty desegregation.
In addition to the need to end the discrimination inherent
in faculty segregation, minority administrators, faculty,
and staff play a vital role in easing student adjustment to
desegregation. Their understanding of the concerns of
minority children is required at all levels of the
educational structure, especially in view of the
insensitivity which reduces the effectiveness of some white
educators in desegregated schools. Such minority
representation will strongly enhance the likelihood that
school desegregation will be a positive experience for the
An examination of the school desegregation experiences
of many school districts must also include a look at the
extent of desegregation within schools and classrooms in
ostensibly desegregated school systems. A problem common to
many desegregated districts is resegregation within the
classroom that may result from various student assignment
practices. These practices and the need for and use of
alternatives in many schools are described. Similarly, the
techniques which many school districts have used to ensure
uninterrupted opportunities for participation in
desegregated extracurricular activities are illustrated.
Positive student attitudes clearly are important in
assessing the success or failure of desegregation. The
Commission has found in the past that desegregation often
leads to more positive interracial attitudes and
understanding among students. The Commission's latest
research reaffirms the fact that students, particularly
whites, continue to be more supportive of desegregation and
busing than their parents.
Finally, the nature and scope of disciplinary problems
in desegregated schools continues to be a subject about
which there is much public misunderstanding. Many parents,
minority and white, fear for their children's safety when
threats or predictions of violence permeate the streets and
schools prior to or during implementation of desegregation.
In fact, there is far less racial conflict in desegregated
schools than is commonly believed, and the scope of
disruption in the schools, whatever its cause or nature, is
often exaggerated. The problem of discrimination in
disciplinary policy, however, is often acute, and this
problem, not the myth of unrelieved turmoil and rampage, is
the reality that must be dealt with for desegregation to be
effective. As this discussion reveals, many school
districts have provided human relations training for faculty
and staff and have reviewed disciplinary codes and minority
pupil suspension rates in order to ensvure that student
disciplinary policy is firm but fair.
other factors also must be studied in assessing the
national experience to date with school desegregation. For
example, the increased degree of parental involvement in
school affairs, as a direct result of the desegregation
process, often helps to improve educational services in our
public schools. Similarly, desegregation often leads to
greater student involvement in such areas as a school's
disciplinary policy and human relations programs.
The purpose of school desegregation is to provide equal
educational opportunity for all students, a right guaranteed
by the 14th amendment. While most Americans accept this
human right in principle, many question whether school
desegregation is necessary to achieve it. The evidence in
such communities as Hillsborough County, Florida,
Minneapolis, and Berkeley, for example, where desegregation
has been in effect for some time, is that, contrary to the
view that desegregation would be achieved at the expense of
the white majority, desegregation has brought about changes
which benefit everyone. Far from lowering the quality of
education as some predict, desegregation has actually
contributed to its improvement in many instances. Far from
heightening racial tension and conflict, desegregation has
contributed to improved interracial understanding and
relations in most schools.
This report makes clear that although minority parents,
teachers, and administrators frequently encounter obstacles
to effective desegregation, even in ostensibly desegregated
districts, the minority community remains the major impetus
for desegregation. Most firmly believe that desegregation
is indeed worth the effort, and they do not want to return
to the segregated schools of the past. The Commission has
found similar attitudes among many white parents, students,
and educators in desegregated school districts.
School desegregation impacts at many different points
in public education and community life. The experiences
described here clearly indicate that, in the last analysis,
whether that impact is generally beneficial or adverse
depends in large measure upon the determination and the
planning of school and community leaders. The Commission
believes that the Nation's experience with school
desegregation fully supports the conclusion of the principal
at Little Rock's desegregated Central High School:
...we are moving in the right direction. The
Constitution says it's right, and the quality of
[our] democracy demands it.... There are
frustrations and temporary setbacks. . .[but ] we can
have equity and quality. That's the goal, the
THE ROLE OF LEADERSHIP
The process of school desegregation is significantly
affected by the support or opposition it receives from the
local community's leadership. Across the Nation in the
various school districts included in the Commission study,
where officials and community leaders have given their
support, the process of desegregating the schools has tended
to go relatively smoothly. In these districts the community
at large more readily accepted desegregation. Where civic
leaders publicly oppose desegregation, however, they provide
sanction to its opponents, who believe they have been given
license to disobey the law and disrupt the community and its
schools in protest.
As early as 1968 the Commission's study of school
desegregation in Virginia found that effective desegregation
had occurred where school officials had taken the position
that Federal law must be obeyed and that desegregation could
be accomplished, 2 More recently, the commission has found
further evidence to substantiate the importance of positive
leadership in desegregation.
In its national survey, the Commission found that
superintendents' responses in 532 school districts which had
desegregated within the last 10 years showed that the level
of opposition among local leaders just prior to
inplementation of desegregation was far greater in districts
which reported serious disruptions of the educational
process. 3 Of 411 districts where superintendents reported no
serious disruptions on the issue of school desegregation,
• Business leaders were supportive or neutral
in 65 percent.
• Political leaders were supportive or neutral
in 67 percent.
• Religious leaders were supportive or neutral
in 87 percent.
Of 95 districts which reported serious disruptions:
• Business leaders were supportive or neutral
in 27 percent.
• Political leaders were supportive or neutral
in 30 percent.
• Religious leaders were supportive or neutral
in 66 percent.
Superintendent and School Board
Affirmative leadership by school board members and
superintendents is a critical factor for acceptance and
peaceful implementation of desegregation. Individuals
interviewed in 23 of 29 school districts in which case
studies were conducted said that the superintendent's
positive leadership had contributed to the smoothness with
which desegregation was implemented. In 15 school
districts, persons interviewed said the school board's
support had a noticeable impact on the desegregation
process. Support from superintendents and school boards
included appointing human relations committees, making
strong public statements in support of desegregation, and
initiating activities or programs to facilitate
According to school officials in Hillsborough County,
the school board's decision not to appeal the 1971 court
decision but to make every effort to comply was the first
step toward successful desegregation.* In anticipation of
the court order, the superintendent began developing a
desegregation plan. The Hillsborough County School Board,
recognizing the importance of involving the total community,
set up a 156-member community desegregation task force.
Businessmen, military personnel, students, parents,
religious leaders, the media, as well as antibusing groups
were represented on the task force. As a result,
desegregation in Hillsborough County was implemented without
violence or disruption.
In contrast, the Boston School Committee adamantly
refused to take the affirmative steps necessary to
desegregate Boston's public schools successfully. In a
report on desegregation in Boston the Commission concluded
that, "the effect of the Boston School Committee's
statements, policy, and inaction was to foster within the
community outright resistance to school desegregation."* The
school superintendent also provided a minimum of guidance to
the Boston school department. *
In Berkeley, Calfornia, which desegregated voluntarily
in 1968, the board of education passed a resolution stating
that desegregation was "absolutely their goal."^ Asked what
she considered the single most important factor in
desegregation in Berkeley, a former school board member
said, "I think it was the total community involvement under
the leadership of both the board and the superintendent."*
Union Township, New Jersey, implemented an HEW-approved
desegregation plan in 1969. Observers attribute its success
to the school board's early unanimity, its ability to "stick
to its guns," and the dedication and commitment of the
superintendent of schools. Affirmative and determined
leadership enabled the community to avoid most of the
hysteria and blind resistance which troubled other school
districts. 9 In Minneapolis, Minnesota, which desegregated in
1973, many residents believe that desegregation has been
successful because of the consistent, positive approach
taken by the school administration in informing and molding
community support for the desegregation process, *<>
In Prince George's County, Maryland, which desegregated
in the middle of the 1972-73 school year, the school board
resisted to the very end, causing community polarization and
dissension. In his final decree. Judge Frank Kaufman
...the Prince George's County School Board has
disregarded the mandates of the highest court of
our land... the policy and practice apparently
followed by a number of school board members of
seeking at every stage and at every available
moment, ever further delays, and of failing to
exert affirmative leadership to effect required
constitutional change, discourages further
delay. . . . **
In Bogalusa, Louisiana, many school board members were
opposed to any desegregation effort. Although the board
directed the superintendent to develop a plan to comply with
a court order, it made known its opposition and the fact
that it was complying only because there was no alternative.
A community representative cited the school board's attitude
as most damaging to initial desegregation efforts because of
its negative effect on the community.* 2 jn Greenville,
Mississippi, on the other hand, leadership at all levels —
school, community, business, and media — worked together to
bring about desegregation in that community.*'
In Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina, where court-
ordered desegregation was implemented in 1970, the general
view among those sympathetic to the plan is that the school
board did not provide active support and there has been
little support by leaders elsewhere in the city or county.
To the extent the plan has worked, various individuals said,
credit goes to the superintendent and his professional
staff. In 1972 the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community
Relations Committee, after studying the causes of school
disorders and community tensions, criticized the school
board for its "interim" attitude and declared:
...our first and firmest attention should be
turned from discontent with courts. . , to our
schools and the way in which they educate our
children. The Committee believes that leadership
from the board of education and from others —
elected and private civic leaders alike — will
cause this community's parents to reaffirm their
belief in good education. »♦
Pontiac, Michigan, desegregated in 1971-72 amidst
turmoil and violence — 10 school buses were bombed in the bus
depot and buses carrying young children were attacked by
mobs of adults. Community leaders in Pontiac criticized the
board of education and top school administrators for their
failure to exert affirmative leadership:
The school board knew it was in the wrong, but
refused to admit it, even after all court appeals
had been exhausted; the board misled the public.
The community would have been more cooperative if
the superintendent had said, "We are desegregating
because it is the right thing to do for the
Generally, local elected officials, other than school
board members, have no direct authority over the public
school system. However, their public response to a
desegregation plan can have a positive or negative effect in
a community where there is controversy. Where public
officials actively support the desegregation process, the
community generally directs its attention toward making the
process work. Even where political leaders have actually
opposed the specifics of a court order, the Commission has
found that if they take a position of "obedience to the
law," the result is a positive contribution to the
desegregation process. This was true in a number of
districts, including Springfield, Massachusetts; Newport
News, Virginia; and Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Minoru Yasui, executive director of the Denver
Commission on Community Relations, said:
I think probably the greatest strength has been
that in the City and County of Denver, both the
administration and even those who oppose the
specific court order have felt that obedience to
the law is a very important and integral part of
the community. I believe the city administration
has always backed this kind of a stand, that if
there is a law on the books, it should be obeyed
by law-abiding citizens.**
Although no elected city officials in Denver made
public statements in support of school desegregation, the
mayor directed the Denver Commission on Community Relations
to "be involved in whatever was necessary to alleviate the
tensions caused by school desegregation."*^
In Boston the Commission found that public statements
of the mayor during the school desegregation crisis confused
the public and constituted a disservice to the rule of
law. »* Some of Mayor White's public statements included the
We are all faced with the unpleasant task of
implementing a court order.
Compliance with law does not require acceptance of
it; tolerance does not require endorsement of law.
People who would boycott schools are asked to
weigh the decision carefully, but it is their
decision to make. Parents should attend open
houses at schools before making final decision to
send or not send students to school.*'
Local and State politicans in Maryland as well as the
district's Member of Congress made public statements on the
anarchy and chaos that would accompany school desegregation
in Prince George's County. 20 No leadership was exerted by
most top county or State officials in behalf of compliance
with the court order, and the community divided on the issue
of desegregation. 2 1
In contrast, officials in Tampa and Hillsborough County
took a neutral position on school desegregation and credited
the school board with the successful iirplementation of
desegregation. Richard Greco, former mayor, said: "It was
their responsibility. It was a tough problem. They got in
there and did their job and I think that you would have to
say that the city, the county, and everyone else was
somewhat neutral. . .because it wasn't our realm of
responsibility. "2 2 Local officials agreed that the political
community refrained from making the desegregation issue a
In Louisville the desegregation issue did become a
political football. The Governor of Kentucky, the mayor of
Louisville, and the Jefferson County judge testified against
court- ordered desegregation during the Senate Judiciary
Committee hearings prior to the 197 5 election. In the wake
of violence in Louisville, an editorial in The State Journal
addressed the leadership problem:
Both the Governor and Jefferson Coxinty Judge Todd
Hollenbach, while strongly stating their
intentions to restore order in the city, appeared
determined to let everyone know how much they
oppose court-ordered busing... if the Governor
keeps saying how bad busing is, throwing a brick
at a police car can be seen by emotion- laden minds
as doing the Governor's business. 23
The Jefferson County school system is about to enter
its second year of desegregation. Asked if he has taken
steps to bring the community together for better
implementation of the court order. County Judge Louis J.
Hollenbach testified that he and Mayor Harvey Sloane have
appeared before many groups to focus attention on
alternatives to busing and have submitted these alternatives
to the school board. The alternatives are not within the
scope of the existing court order. 2* Thus, it appears that
the chief executives of Louisville and Jefferson County will
continue to undermine the letter and the spirit of the law
with respect to school desegregation in the Louisville
Law enforcement agencies, as part of local government,
often reflect the position of local officials.
Consequently, if elected officials are committed to peaceful
implementation of desegregation, law enforcement agencies
Following the Denver court order in the spring of 1974,
the police department began contingency planning for the
possibility of violence or disorder. Police officials met
with school officials to discuss potential problems during
the remainder of the school year and in the fall. The chief
of police testified:
...we felt that at one of our high schools we
might have a problem. .. .We enabled the
of ficers. . .to go to that school... to determine if
there were any possibilities. We did have alert
circumstances, not uniform cars, in the area, but
available with helicopter surveillance. . .no
problems came out. 2s
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Department and the
Tampa Police Department were involved in a workshop
sponsored by the school administration to "let us in law
enforcement know what the plan was to be." Sheriff Malcolm
Beard said, "We were prepared for any problon that might
arise.. ..we had no problems. "2* Both the sheriff and the
chief of police said their departments maintained a very low
profile although they were well prepared: "We had some
areas where we thought... a problem might occur, and we had
manpower there, but they were not conspicuous. They were
not on the scene... but they were available. "z^
Law enforcement decisions made by Boston officials
clearly influenced the course of events. 28 Although the
police had prior information that resistance to
desegregation would be massive in certain areas of the city,
they neglected to provide adequate police presence in those
areas. As a result, massive civil disorder occurred.
leading the mayor to announce shortly after the opening of
school that the city could not maintain public safety.
With tension at a peak and the potential for violence
running high, Memphis schools opened in 1972-73 on a
desegregated basis with no serious incidents or arrests. 29
This occurred despite opposition by the mayor and the city
council and a national antibusing rally in Memphis the
weekend before school opened. The director of police made
it clear that the police would enforce the court order:
When the date for busing arrived, we wanted it
done in a normal environment — no force, no strong-
arm tactics, no sea of uniforms. We were totally
mobilized and ready, but we were in the
background, not in the schools or on the
buses.... We were candid about what we would do,
but we didn't want anybody but the school people
involved in the actual movement of children. I
know we've got some men with deep racial bias, but
a real professional has to subordinate his
personal feeling to his duty.^o
Business, Religious, and Orgeuiizational Leadership
In many school districts affirmative leadership by
members of business, religious, and social service
organizations has contributed immeasurably to community
acceptance of desegregation.
The Chamber of Commerce in Memphis made peaceful
implementation of the court order its highest priority and
helped form IMPACT — Involved Memphis Parents Assisting
Children and Teachers. It also used its own public
relations firm to enlist support. The executive director of
the chamber said, "It had to be done. We don't want this
town to go down the drain."'* One community leader said of
the leadership coalition of the chamber, the school system,
the black community, and IMPACT:
When a city's power structure makes up its mind to
face up to an issue like desegregation, it can do
it — and do it in an impressive and encouraging
way. Even though officials of the local. State
and Federal governments did all they could to stop
busing, there were enough people here who wanted
to do the right thing and they did it... and the
result was a victory for Memphis. 32
The Greater Tampa Chamber of commerce endorsed
desegregation of the schools. Its executive vice president
said, "If the chamber endorses it... we represent about 4,000
business firms and individuals — I think it has a good bit to
do with how the community responds.""
In Greenville, Mississippi, the business leadership
reportedly raised $10,000 from private sources for a
professional public relations firm to publicize school
On the other hand, the Louisville Chamber of Commerce
has moved from a public position of support for the peaceful
implementation of court-ordered desegregation to one of
opposition to court-ordered busing.'* The reversal,
precipitated by community opposition and intimidation of
small businesses by antibusing elements, fueled the
discontent and disobedience.
There was considerable support for school desegregation
from the Denver clergy. Ecumenical prayer services were
held, and the Council of Churches and its Clergy Committee
for Reconciliation spoke out in favor of peaceful
inplementation of the plan. Both the United Methodist
Church and the Roman Catholic Church officially communicated
their support for school desegregation to their clergy. '* In
addition, the Roman Catholic Church in Denver, as well as in
Louisville, Tampa, Boston, and other communities, issued
directives forbidding the use of Catholic schools as a haven
for whites trying to avoid desegregation. 3 7
A coalition of 49 Denver community organizations, PLUS
(People Let's Unite for Schools), worked to involve the
entire community in the desegregation process.
Media coverage of school desegregation has an enormous
impact upon local and national opinions and perceptions.
Consequently, many school districts have attempted to work
closely with the news media. In Denver the court-appointed
monitoring committee met with media executives to ask their
cooperation in presenting the positive side of
desegregation. A committee member said:
...I think that both of the newspapers have, in
general, done a good job of this.... They have
reported the facts, they have traced down rumors
before putting them on the front page.^a
Local newspapers in Memphis reportedly did a
"superlative" job of covering school desegregation and took
editorial positions favoring peaceful implementation of the
court order. 39 Many people felt, however, that national
coverage was misleading and had a negative effect on the
city.*o In Corpus Christi, Texas, the local media were
strong advocates of desegregation, in particular, the Corpus
Christi Caller - Times which won a statewide Associated Press
The Boston Community Media Council (BCMC) , a biracial
organization of print and broadcast news management
personnel, made a constructive effort to plan the local
media's role during Phase I of Boston's desegregation
effort.* 2 The council held training sessions:
The briefings at times emphasized the obvious: the
importance of checking out rumors and tips; the
need to be inconspicuous and to stand back from
any outbreaks to avoid the appearance of
encouraging them. The television people weighed
the use of film reports... to provide an overall
sense of perspective. . .the newspaper people
stressed the importance of avoiding code words or
inflammatory descriptions ("cruel," "savage," or
"brutal") in their copy.*^
The Boston Globe was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1975
for its coverage of the school desegregation crisis. The
local media later abandoned the BCMC "plan" and each pursued
an independent course of action. National media coverage,
particularly of incidents of violence during the fall of
197U, engendered widespread feeling in Boston that reporting
had been sensationalized and thereby distorted. ♦♦
According to community leaders in Dorchester County,
Maryland, the media coverage of desegregation was negative
and served to exacerbate the problems. In 1970 the
superintendent, who was opposed to desegregation, wrote to
the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare,
criticizing Dorchester News stories as unethical.*' The
Delta Democrat Times in Greenville, Mississippi, was praised
for keeping the community informed and for its positive
response to desegregation.**
The media in Louisville was severely criticized by some
community leaders. Dr. Lois Cronholm, director of the
Louisville-Jefferson County Human Relations Commission,
I think the news media produced a picture in this
community that the great majority of the people,
90 percent or more... were opposed to busing. It
became the expectation for most of our citizens to
oppose busing because they really believed that
not to oppose busing would have meant to have gone
against what appeared to be the overwhelming moral
current of opinion. From this standpoint I would
criticize the news media.*''
Galen Martin, director of the Kentucky Commission on
Human Relations, testified that the media misled the
community through its overuse of slogans and its
"glamorization of the hate group leaders." He said:
We have had more than 12 court orders for
desegregation. But this is the first time... that
the media have ever described it as court-ordered
forced busing across racial lines to achieve
balance. . . .♦»
There was also testimony that the media had failed in
its responsibility to inform the public on the reasons for
[It] failed to tell white people about the
brutality of segregation, how bad the schools were
so that they see a little busing is better than
the defects of segregation.*'
Although the leading newspapers endorsed busing for
desegregation and advocated peaceful implementation, a
leading television station editorialized for a
constitutional amendment or other alternatives to busing.
The Courier - Journal printed an editorial on the
responsibility of the media during desegregation:
The most sensitive issue the news media in this
community has had to handle in many, many years is
that of school desegregation. ...
On this issue we all bear an extra burden of
accuracy — to publish or broadcast facts rather
than unsubstantiated rumor. The way the community
copes with integration this fall may well reflect
the responsibility with which news organizations
have kept people informed. Unreliable reporting
damages the community. ... 'o
The Courier Journa 1 and WHAS-TV in Louisville won
national Sigma Delta Chi awards for their coverage of
In summary, where public and private leaders publicly
supported the peaceful implementation of school
desegregation, whether court-ordered or voluntary and
irrespective of the mechanics used, the process tended to
proceed smoothly and more effectively than in districts
where such support was lacking. Affirmative leadership is
crucial to the achievement of school desegregation in a
community. Such leadership is most important in school
districts where there is opposition because undisciplined
opposition can lead to community disruption and violence.
In periods immediately before and after implementation of
desegregation, when apprehension is often widespread, local
leaders must reassure the community that desegregation can
and will be accomplished peacefully and successfully,
without commitment from the top, the task of desegregating
is made more difficult.
PREPARATION OF THE COMMUNITY
Many school districts undertake a variety of activities
to involve and educate the community, particularly parents,
prior to school desegregation. The purpose is to engender
acceptance and support for school desegregation and create
an atmosphere of cooperation and comradeship between school
Leadership for these activities may come from the
school administration, 5 1 from community organizations, sz or
from principals of individual schools. S3 Often with the
assistance of local parent teacher organizations, individual
schools have been able to desegregate peacefully and
smoothly, even when they are part of a school system
otherwise marked by disruptions. s*
A vital part of these activities is to keep the
community thoroughly informed. A Greenville, Mississippi,
school administrator reported that the school district had
sponsored a television program explaining the desegregation
plan so there would be "no surprises."" Information was
notably absent in Phase I of the Boston school desegregation
process.'* This contributed to "confusion, duplication of
effort, and inaction."'^
Involving the Community
Community preparation has been handled in several ways
and at different stages of the school desegregation process.
In Hillsborough County (Tampa) , the school administration
sought citizen involvement in the initial development of the
It was our feeling at that time since the schools
belong to the people that the people should help
resolve the problems. So it was part of the
format or strategy for coming up with the plan to
get some community involvement. s a
Immediately following the 1971 court order, s' school
administrators organized a 156-member citizens' committee,
the Hillsborough County Citizens Desegregation Committee,
which included black and white leaders and opponents as well
as advocates of school desegregation. This committee
reviewed plans and options that had been developed by 20
school administrators and 5 lay persons under the direction
of E.L, Bing, who is now assistant school superintendent for
supportive services. All meetings of the committee were
open, and newspaper and radio advertisements strongly urged
the public to attend. *o The press was present at all
sessions and reported on all the proceedings. Broad
involvement of the community and the media was cited by
school administrators and private citizens as a major factor
in the acceptance of school desegregation in Tampa. *»
Because a large segment of the community helped develop the
plan, they had an investment in its outcome.
In other places, school administrations have not
directly involved the community in the development of a
plan, but have provided opportunities for participation at
strategic points in the desegregation process and have
sought to keep the community informed.
In Minneapolis, prior to desegregation, the board of
education held several open meetings and a public hearing to
explain its plan. After adoption, the board held nearly 100
meetings to provide further explanation. * 2 By the time
implementation began, the community had been assured that
desegregation would be educationally beneficial.* 3
Community education was a basic component of the school
desegregation plan developed in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Large
public hearings were held for presentation of the plan and
for citizen input.** The plan also included an information
center staffed by community volunteers. *s
Information and Rumor Control Centers
Information and rumor control centers have been
established by numerous school systems in the process of
desegregating.** Such centers generally begin operating a
few months before school desegregation begins and continue
for the first year or two of school desegregation.*''
Dependent mostly on the telephone, these centers have been
effective tools for keeping the community informed and
providing a readily accessible line of communication.
Parents have been able to learn about curriculum changes,
school hours, and bus routes and to clarify mimors* School
administrators often use community volunteers, especially
parents, to staff the centers. Private citizens have proved
to be highly credible in relaying first-hand information to
other citizens. *8
In Tampa, rumors were investigated by human relations
counselors in the schools and the results were reported back
to callers. 6' Charles Vacher, former supervisor of the Tampa
rumor control center, emphasized its importance:
I think personally, . .that a desegregation process
couldn't occur without it. You just have to sit
and answer call after call from the concerned
people....! feel certain that it was a wonderful
asset to Hillsborough County at that time.^o
Mr. Vacher said that the center received 200 to 300
telephone calls a day from the preregistration period
through the first few weeks of school.^*
A similar center operated during the early stages of
desegregation in Berkeley, California:
...[The] rumor clinic was to function for the
community, to trace down every rumor that had to
do with fears of desegregation. .. .[T]his rumor
clinic was a catalyst to sort out the fears that
had been openly expressed at many of the hearings
.that we had prior to adoption of the plan.''^
In Boston, a black community organization. Freedom
House Institute on Schools and Education, was "instrumental
in setting up a [neighborhood] Rumor Control and Information
Center, which was directly hooked into the Boston School
Department and also to the Information Center located in
City Hall. "7 3 Staffed by volunteers from various community
agencies, the center was established becuse of rumors of
violence and hostile receptions of black children at their
"new" schools. 7*
Local School Activities
In addition to communitywide preparations, some school
districts have provided parents with opportunities to become
familiar with specific aspects of desegregation. ^s Parents
were able to visit their child^s "new" school, 7« experience
a bus ride, 7 7 meet parents of transferring students, 7a and
meet school personnel. 7 9 other activities have included ice
cream socials, picnics, coffee klatches, door-to-door home
visits, and sensitivity sessions. Community organizations
often give support and assistance to these endeavors.
In Springfield, Massachusetts, the Bi-Racial Quality
Integrated Education Committee helped with orientation
programs at the "sending" and "receiving" schools. These
programs generally consisted of building tours, explanation
of curriculum, and discussion of parental concerns and
questions. 80 In Louisville individual schools held
orientation nights. Teachers were present to talk to
parents and students about the curriculum and to allay fears
and anxieties. «i Nancy Jordan, a Denver parent, stressed the
importance of this type of parent orientation: "For any
other school district that plans to desegregate, I think
this is absolutely crucial to get the parents together with
the people who are going to be dealing with their
Some school districts have responded to anxieties about
desegregation by integrating parents into school operations.
In Charlotte, North Carolina, the parent teacher association
obtained Federal funds to hire a coordinator who solicited
assistance from parents in tutorial positions. *3 By working
in the schools, parents were able to see first hand that
school desegregation was proceeding smoothly and their
children were safe.'* Parent volunteers in many school
districts have continued to provide assistance during the
school year in various paraprofessional and volunteer
A Boston parent, Jane Margulis, commented at the
...I was born and brought up in Boston, but had
very little to do with black people all my life;
had always gone to segregated schools. And it was
very frightening for me to think that I would be
putting them on a bus and [sending them] to the
black community which I knew nothing about....
Well, I thought I had to make myself comfortable
in order to make them feel comfortable about the
change. The first thing I did was start working
in my middle daughter's school.... ■•
Although Boston's central school administration did not
provide leadership to prepare the community or parents for
school desegregation, some individual school principals did
involve their communities. They were able to win parents'
acceptance and achieve integration in a way that made a
significant contribution to the educational growth and
development of their students.""'
Leadership from Community Organizations
Although data collected by the Commission suggest that
in most instances school superintendents and their staffs
provided the strongest leadership in preparing communities
for school desegregation, community organizations have also
played positive roles in many school districts. •• The
Memphis Chamber of Commerce was Instrumental in forming an
organization. Involved Memphis Parents Assisting Children
and Teachers (IMPACT) , which sponsored a telephone rumor
control system, newspaper and television advertisements
supporting school desegregation, a speakers bureau,
neighborhood meetings, and factsheets explaining the
desegregation plan."' In Denver, two organizations. People
Let's Unite for Schools (PLUS) and the Community Education
Council (CEC) , engaged in a variety of activities to Involve
and inform the community. 'o PLUS, a coalition of more than
fiO organizations, operated a rumor control clinic; created a
public education task force which developed a pamphlet
explaining the court order' * and the history of the case;
established a speaker's bureau staffed by persons
knowledgeable about the court order; and provided a forum
for communication between parents, students, and teachers of
the sending and receiving schools. ' 2
Denver's Community Education Council, established by
the court, consists of a cross-section of prominent citizens
who coordinated the actions of a number of agencies involved
in desegregation. The council also provided the community
with factual information about the court order and served as
a communication channel between the community and the
schools. Council members continue to monitor implementation
of the order. 9 3
While the high level of communication established
between the school and community during the early stages of
desegregation tends to decrease after the school
desegregation plan is implemented, many school districts
continue to sponsor community-school activities throughout
the first few years. Parent volunteers in some school
districts have become a part of regular school operations,
and local community organizations have continued to sponsor
human relations activities. '♦ Through such programs parental
involvement in school districts often increased, bringing
the home and the school in closer contact.
William Choker, a Denver parent, commented at the
The level of parent involvement has certainly
improved since integration. . .was implemented. It
has tripled or quadrupled. . .resulting in, I think,
a very excellent organization that, in my opinion,
has done a tremendous job, not only in the Manual
[High School] community, but extending as far as
the southwest and southeast sections of the
city. 9 5
At the Tampa hearing, elementary school principal Dora
Reader also spoke of the increase in parent participation:
...before integration I had such a hard time
getting PTA going and getting parent
We do have more parent participation than we have
ever had. Our teachers don't have to worry about
the class parties and all of the field trips and
all the other things that parents get involved
in.. . .9*
Some school districts have more formal ongoing vehicles
for community involvement which are often created by court
orders. In Louisville, a citizens' advisory committee was
established by the school administration to provide a forum
for expression of problems, concerns, and suggestions
pertaining to school desegregation. '"^ However, the
effectiveness of the committee has been questioned by
community leaders because it has no real authority. A
hearing witness stated that he felt an "essential
ingredient" for such a committee was a "formal charge from
the Federal court" with specific responsibilities. '^ j^
Denver, as previously mentioned, the court-created Community
Education Council is responsible for continuous monitoring
of the school desegregation process. This results in
regular observation of the school environment by community
volunteers." The Bi-Racial Advisory Committee to the
Hillsborough County School Board also provides a line of
communication between the community and the school board. loo
Although the responsibilities of these court-mandated
committees often have needed Clarif ication, *o» they have
provided the "community" with an effective means of
communication and helped maintain community involvement in
the ongoing school desegregation process.
With planning and ingenuity, school administrators have
engendered community support and acceptance of school
desegregation and brought the community, home, and school in
RESTRUCTURING OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS
An essential part of desegregation is the restructuring
of school districts, including changes in school attendance
zones and grade levels. This restructuring is accomplished
in a number of ways which include establishing satellite
attendance areas, pairing and clustering, grade-locking,
establishing magnet schools, building new schools, and
closing schools. » 02
Restructuring often requires additional busing of
students, but the increase is substantially less than is
popularly believed. Nationally, slightly more than 50
percent of all school children are bused to school, and of
this percentage less than 7 percent are bused for the
purpose of school desegregation. *03 jn fact, of the total
number of children attending public school, only 3.6 percent
are bused for school desegregation purposes. During the
1973-7U school year, $57 billion was spent for public
education, and $1,858 billion of that total was spent for
student transportation. Only $129 million of these
transportation funds were used to achieve desegregation. * 04
Indeed, busing is not a new phenomenon in American
education. As early as 1869, the State of Massachusetts
enacted the first pupil transportation law.ios Today US
States provide student transportation, and 15 States provide
it to private schools at public expense, »<>• The use of pupil
transportation was predicated upon providing educational
opportunities not available at the neighborhood school,
combined with a concern for safety. »o^ While modern
opponents of busing often cite safety as an argument against
it, the data show that "students walking to school are three
times more likely to be involved in an accident than those
going to school by bus."»oe
On the average, 30 percent of the students in
desegregated school districts, surveyed in the Commission's
national study, were reassigned at the time of school
desegregation. However, the average percentage of minority
students bused increased from U6.98 percent to 55.98
percent. The average percentage of majority students bused
increased from 50.13 percent to 53.28 percent, or about 3
Analysis of the 29 case studies reveals that the number
of students bused increased in 25, decreased in 1, and
remained the same in 3. Furthermore, in 9 of the 25
districts, the increase was less than 12 percent and in none
was the increase over 50 percent. i*o The burden of busing in
21 of the districts is disproportionately borne by minority
students, in 3 by majority students, and in 5 is evenly
balanced. »*» in addition, the percentage of the budget spent
on busing increased less than 2 percent in the majority of
the school districts and decreased in two. »*2
In Minneapolis, Minnesota, the school desegregation
plan — which included wider attendance zones, clustering and
pairing, and a pilot program of learning centers similar to
magnet schools — kept busing to a minimum and balanced the
proportion bused between minority and majority students.**'
The average bus ride before and after school desegregation
was less than 20 minutes.*** Roughly half of the district's
5'»,000 pupils are bused and of these 27,000, 11,000 are
bused for desegregation purposes. **» School desegregation in
Ossining, New York, was accomplished by rezoning attendance
areas and closing an elementary school in deteriorated
condition.*** The average bus ride remained approximately 30
minutes and only an additional 6,6 percent of the students
are bused. *i^ There was an increase of only 1 percent of
students bused in Erie, Pennsylvania, and the percentage of
the budget used for busing remained the same, 2.3
percent.*** The desegregation plan included closing three
old school buildings, pairing, and rezoning attendance
lines,**' Similarly, in Ogden, Utah, school desegregation
did not increase the number of students bused (less than 1
percent) , or the percentage of the budget spent on busing
(less than 1 percent). *2o The voluntary desegregation plan
included consolidating five elementary schools into two new
facilities and redrawing boundary lines for both elementary
and junior high schools. 121
In Hillsborough County, Florida, after numerous
desegregation plans were used which included selective
pairing and open enrollment, the school board adopted a plan
which encompassed satellite attendance zones, clustering,
and grade-locking. 122 Sixth and seventh grade centers were
established in the formerly black schools, and white
students at those grade levels are bused during the 2
years. »2 3 Black students are bused to formerly white schools
for grades 1 through 5 and 8 through 12.»24 as a result of
this desegregation plan, 125 new buses were purchased and
the State provided approximately 60 percent of the operating
budget for transportation. » 25 of 52,785 students transported
the year following implementation of the plan, 38 percent
were bused for school desegregation purposes. » 26 a parent at
the Tampa hearing responded to a question about her child
being bused to school each day:
I have no serious objection to it, personally. It
has not caused a hardship in our family. Perhaps
I would feel differently about it if what he got
at the end of the line was not so good. But he
does get a good deal at the end of the line.i*^
In most school districts, desegregation plans are
developed for the purpose of providing equal educational
opportunity for all students. Restructuring of schools and
the busing involved are merely means to that end. It is not
the busing, it is the education at the end of the ride that
DESEGREGATED SCHOOLS AND QUALITY OF EDUCATION
Desegregation is the means through which children of
all races and ethnic backgrounds are provided equal
educational opportunity. Only in learning together as
equals, sharing knowledge and experiences, can children hope
to develop the cultural values which will prepare them to be
fully contributing members of society. At the Commission's
hearing in Louisville, a student explained:
"[Desegregation] let us come together. . .to learn about
things we would have to deal with in society. ...A person's
feelings are not in the textbook. "* 28
The Supreme Court of the United States in the Brown
decision addressed the intangible qualities that only
desegregated schooling provides. Although Brown did not
require improvements in curricular offerings, information
available to the Commission indicates that many
desegregating school districts in seeking to provide equal
educational opportunity often simultaneously reevaluate
their educational programs and services and as a result
improve them. The superintendent of schools in Williamsburg
County, South Carolina, explained:
It would have been a mistake to have desegregated
the schools without making other basic changes in
the educational programs at the same time. We
could see that many changes needed to take
place.... It was a most opportune time to make
changes. Desegregation was unavoidable; the law
had to be complied with. We complied — and at the
same time we turned our attention to. ..the
individual child. *29
The following section examines the changes in
educational programs and services made by desegregated
school districts. These include curriculum (multicultural
and bilingual education, special programs, and magnet
schools) , preparation of the staff, and school facilities
The Quality of Curriculum
Faced with the need to provide instruction to students
of a variety of backgrounds, interests, and skills, many
desegregated schools have begun to make the curriculum more
responsive to a broad range of academic and emotional needs.
The Commission heard testimony that teachers have become
more sensitive to the kind of instruction that ensures
student interest and academic success, *3o that teachers'
expectations of minority students tend to increase, * 3* that
the academic performance of minority students generally
improves, and that students are often more motivated and
thus attend school more regularly. *32
Educational research is inconclusive as to the effects
of desegregation on achievement test scores of minority and
majority students. »33 Research suggests, however, that
improved achievement scores are more a function of the
educational process than a function of the racial
composition of the school.* 3* The experience of
Williamsburg, South Carolina, is an excellent example. The
school system, with a majority black and low-income student
enrollment, has dramatically improved achievement scores,
reduced dropout rates, and increased the percentage of
students seeking higher education after desegregation when
changes were made in every area affecting the curriculum.
The school system introduced an ungraded, individualized,
sequential plan for the development of basic skills; added
courses in black history and literature; maintained the
number of minority teachers at a level proportionate to
minority student enrollment; provided staff training in
human relations; and took steps to ensure that disciplinary
treatment is administered equitably. » 3*
The Berkeley Unified School District provides another
example. Achievement scores of both majority and minority
students improved after desegregation. The director of
research and evaluation attributed this to desegregation and
the ensuing improvements in educational services and
A curriculum that reflects various cultural and racial
backgrounds is essential to desegregated education. A
school board member in Minneapolis stated:
...desegregation has a great effect on the quality
of education. Because I think we are opening
doors to our children today. .. speaking about my
culture and background [which] they never knew
about... they [learn] about all cultures. . .all
major contributions. . .that one race or one
individual nationality is not superior or inferior
to another. . . *3^
A school administrator in Berkeley agreed:
...the intent is to prepare youngsters to be
effective members of society, and one of the kinds
of skills that they can acquire in a desegregated
system is a knowledge and an awareness of the
differences that exist among youngsters and
hopefully gain a respect for those differences and
acceptance of them....i38
Many school districts have added ethnic studies and
multicultural courses to the curriculum* 3 9 and have begun
using textbooks which reflect the contributions of all
groups. For example, a teacher in Minneapolis stated, "I
think. ..we have made a great amount of effort to make our
material multiethnic and nonsexist. "»*o Furthermore,
teachers on their own initiative have incorporated the
cultures and histories of different racial and ethnic groups
into their classroom presentations. »♦»
Part of this general trend towards multicultural
education is the increased use of bilingual-bicultural
education, an indication that school districts are becoming
more responsive to the needs of language-minority children.
Boston offers programs for a variety of different language
groups, 1*2 Tampa for Spanish-speaking students, »*3 and
Louisville for Vietnamese-speaking students. »♦♦ Denver,
which has a large Mexican American student population,
instituted bilingual-bicultural programs in 7 schools the
first year of desegregation and extended them to 15 schools
the following year,»*'
Although these programs have not necessarily been
instituted as a part of the desegregation process, they are
recognized by educators as prerequisite to providing equal
educational opportunity for language-minority children. *♦•
A school board member in Berkeley explained:
I think that every school district in the country
[with] non- English- speaking students has to
establish some sort of bilingual program that will
allow those students not to fall behind simply
because of the lack of mastery of the language....
Simply desegregating wasn't enough, [the Chicano
students] needed an opportunity in a bilingual-
bicultural setting, not only allowing [them]... to
appreciate and accept their culture and their way
of life, but allowing others to. ..gain a respect
for that kind of situation. ... »*^
Bilingual-bicultural programs typically include both
language-minority and English-speaking children. Language-
minority children are given a real opportunity to learn
since they are taught basic subject matter in the language
they know best, and at the same time they acquire
proficiency in English as a second language. Native
English-speaking children in these programs are given an
opportunity to learn another language and experience a
different culture. **8
Many desegregated schools offer students a wider choice
of studies than was offered in segregated schools. School
administrators attempt to ensure that courses offered in a
student's former school are offered in the new school. i*9
For example, in Tampa majority-black schools offered black
history. Since desegregation, black history has been made
available in all schools, to white as well as black
students. »5o In Denver, instead of duplicating advanced
academic and vocational courses that were offered in two
high schools. East and Manual, a complex was formed.
Although each school now has desegregated student bodies,
students are encouraged to take courses in both schools.* si
As a result of desegregation, school districts have
implemented a variety of programs designed to improve basic
skills such as reading and mathematics. These programs have
benefitted both minority and majority children achieving
below their potential. Many desegregated school districts
have also attempted to identify gifted students and provide
programs that fully develop their talents and abilities.
The availability of Federal money under the Emergency School
Aid Act, established to provide financial assistance for
special needs incident to the elimination of minority
segregation, 15 2 has provided the impetus for many of these
In planning for desegregation, the Prince George's
County, Maryland, School District received Federal aid under
ESAA to improve reading achievement and to identify gifted
students from minority groups. isa The school district
provided a reading supervisor and staff of reading teachers
for different geographical areas, and 20 "floating faculty"
members were assigned to work with 20 elementary schools. A
student tutorial service was expanded to include 20 junior
high schools, 1,620 student tutors, and a, 860 children.
Workshops were conducted over the summer to prepare reading
teachers for elementary and secondary schools.*'*
Even where Federal funds are lacking, many individual
schools in the process of desegregation have developed
programs on their own initiative to help children achieving
below their potential. The vice principal of Merrill Junior
High School in Denver described their efforts:
...about 25 teachers came and received credit for
[remedial reading training]. .. .We. .. started a core
program for children who are not special education
youngsters but have great problems with reading,
with academics, with self-image. .. .Our very top
teachers volunteered to teach. . .these
youngsters. .. .This has helped a great deal.i^s
Magnet schools, which offer specialized curricula and
teaching, are often used to attract students to desegregated
schools. 156 School districts use magnet schools as testing
grounds for innovative curricula and as a means for
providing students alternative programs in truly integrated
settings. These schools typically require specific racial
percentages which may parallel racial composition
districtwide or reflect equal distribution for each racial
and ethnic group.
When an open enrollment policy in Louisville, Kentucky,
was failing to desegregate schools, the Brown School, a
magnet school which stipulated a 50 percent black and white
enrollment, had long waiting lists. »*^ The school offers a
progressive curriculum and attracts white and black parents
who want their children to experience learning in an open
classroom and integrated environment. iss since the merger
of the Jefferson County and Louisville school systems, two
additional "alternative" magnet schools have been developed
which also require 50 percent black and 50 percent white
enrollment. Scheduled to open in the fall of 1976 and known
as traditional schools because of the content and approach
of the curriculum offered, they already have waiting
In Boston, Phase II of the desegregation order called
for the creation of 22 magnet schools offering specialized
and distinctive programs. i^o Institutions of higher
learning, the business community, labor organizations, and
creative arts groups have committed themselves to assist
with the development of curricula for the magnet schools as
well as other schools in the district. Businesses have been
paired with specific schools to provide a more practical
business orientation to academic programs, and labor
organizations have begun developing occupational,
vocational, technical, and trade programs.*** The
effectiveness of this liaison is yet to be determined since
Phase II only began in the fall of 1975. However, the roles
have been defined and program development is underway. **2
The Tulsa, Oklahoma, school district reported that the
greatest effect of desegregation was improvement of the
curriculum. 1*3 Tj^g district established two magnet schools
offering innovative curricula. Washington High School
offers a variety of courses including: repertory theater.
stage show ensembler mass media, TV and film direction,
business law, speed reading, Chinese I and II, building
construction, elementary probability and statistics, music
composition, electronics, and archaeology. »•♦ The
curriculum at Carver Middle School is organized around
courses in communication skills, mathematics, science,
humanities, and exploratory activities. The school makes
extensive use of community resources and conducts numerous
field trips. In addition, the school day for students is
divided into four periods of about 90 minutes duration to
facilitate student-teacher interaction. »•»
Although magnet schools may provide broad educational
opportunities for students, some education authorities have
criticized their use as an "escape route for whites assigned
to predominantly black schools." They have also been
described as "a new type of dual structure with unequal
educational opportunities" which drain resources from other
schools in the system.*** Magnet schools have a
particularly deleterious effect when they are used as the
only device for reassigning students in a desegregating
Preparation of the Staff
Desegregating school districts usually provide human
relations training to ensure a positive learning environment
and to help teachers understand children of different racial
and ethnic backgrounds and socioeconomic levels. Of the 29
case study districts, 23 have provided inservice human
relations training.**^ Such training involves identifying
cultural differences among groups, preparing multicultural
materials, and teaching methodology.
The Minneapolis school system provided human relations
training for teachers to increase their effectiveness in
educating children of different racial and ethnic
backgrounds. A citywide network of faculty representatives
from each school provided this training weekly during an
early release period. Schools held all-day communications
laboratories and the administration appointed two faculty
members to obtain staff reactions to the desegregation plan.
In addition, the administration held a series of workshops
on institutional racism. Five years after desegregation,
the school district continues to provide human relations
training and racism workshops. **8
The Berkeley school district launched a
predesegregation and postdesegregation series of workshops
and seminars to familiarize teachers and students with all
elements of desegregation and to allow discussion of fears
or problems. The school administration also required
teachers to take a series of courses in human relations and
multicultural education, for which they received credits
towards eventual pay raises. **«
In Denver the desegregation plan required 5 hours of
inservice training per semester for every teacher. In
response to subsequent complaints that training was
ineffective and not all teachers attended, the court ordered
that an accountability system be developed. Teachers are
now required to report their views on effectiveness of the
Human relations training provided in Louisville was
based on "the ripple effect," meaning that a certain number
of teachers from each school attended a training institute
and returned to their individual schools to train other
teachers. »^» For the most part it was ineffective. Some
school administrators said that it was not effective because
it was designed with the expectation that the school
district had one full school year to prepare teachers before
desegregation* ■^ 2 a second reason for its lack of
effectiveness was that it received minimal support and
commitment from the central administration. *^3 However, the
few schools that were committed to the concept of human
relations training held successful training workshops, i''*
To implement broad changes in the curriculum
successfully in a desegregated setting often requires new
teaching techniques. As a direct result of desegregation,
18 of the 29 districts reviewed by the Commission developed
and implemented new teaching methods to make the curriculum
more responsive. * ^s Many school districts attempted to
individualize instruction by adding aides and other resource
teachers and creating open classrooms to permit smaller
groupings of students.
The principal of Crosby Middle School in Jefferson
County, Kentucky, described instructional improvements made
at his school:
...One part of our instructional program
is. . .individualized instruction, which means that
students work at their own pace. It means that
each student can succeed at the level the student
has achieved. .. .By using instructional packets, by
subgrouping, we can facilitate. .. learning. .. for
students who have different motivations.*^*
In Hillsborough County, Florida, one-grade schools were
created for the sixth and seventh grades in which 120
students are heterogeneously grouped with one team leader
and four teachers assigned to instruct all of them. At
different times of the day, the students are divided into
smaller groups for individualized instruction. * ''■'
After desegregation in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the concern
for effective teaching brought about the development of a
districtwide teacher accountability system. Extensive test
data and other information on students are given to teachers
in the form of student profiles so they can better tailor
their instruction to the individual needs of students and at
the same time be held accountable for the process. i^s
In general desegregation has a renewing effect on
teachers. At Commission hearings and open meetings many
teachers testified that desegregation has caused them to
reevaluate their methods, techniques, and attitudes and
develop new ways to communicate with children. One teacher
We have, because of desegregation, thrown
out. . . some of the practices that were detrimental
to education. . .we have put in place of those,
educational practices that are more beneficial for
all students. 179
School Facilities and Supplies
One of the most tangible and obvious effects of
desegregation on the quality of education is the general
upgrading of school buildings and facilities and the
provision of adequate supplies. Information available to
the Commission indicates that the reassignment of white
students to previously minority schools has caused school
administrators to correct the inadequate maintainance of
buildings and grounds of minority schools that existed for
years. Moreover, they have corrected the shortage of
educational supplies, textbooks, and classroom furniture
which generally existed in minority schools.
In Denver a black member of a school board advisory
group testified that the school administration had different
standards for minority and majority schools prior to
desegregation. In addition to being older, black schools
were inferior and unsafe. Ventilation was poor, roofs
leaked, radiators were uncovered, bathroom facilities were
limited, and gymnasiums often had cement floors. The
schools were not provided air conditioning as most white
schools were, and they were given mobile classrooms when the
school became overcrowded. Predominantly black schools were
generally short of textbooks, supplies, athletic equipment,
and classroom furniture.* bo
In speaking about the inequality of supplies and
textbooks between majority-black and majority-white schools,
a black student at the Tampa hearing testified: "The books
had no backs, half the pages were gone... and you had to
share one book [with] three people. "»8i
P. R. Wharton, assistant superintendent for
administration, acknowledged that improvements had been made
to a former minority school:
I can think of one school where there was quite a
bit to do about maintenance...! think it was run
down. It was an elementary school. Carver School,
and we went in there and did a great deal of
maintenance prior to integrating that school, the
summer prior to integration. * "2
The black principal of Manual High School, a previously
all-black school in Denver, testified that before
desegregation the school administration had generally
ignored requests for supplies and improvements in
facilities. » 83 A parent of a Manual High School student
There have been drastic changes in the school
since the implementation of the court order. . . .
Manual began to. . .approach the equipment available
in the other high schools. .. .My youngest son, who
graduated in '75, had been Manual's athletic
trainer for 3 years. He continually complained to
me about the lack of basic equipment. .. .The
equipment was below standard. The first time that
Manual's tennis team had uniforms was when the
kids from Washington and East and South [schools]
came over and all of a sudden monies became
available to provide equal equipment for black,
white, Chicano students attending Manual, on a par
with what the other schools had previously been
used to. 184
Similarly, in Berkeley a black parent testified that
they had fought for years for remodeling of the cafeteria
arid lighting in the basement of the black school in her
neighborhood, but they were ignored until the schools
desegregated. * bs
Adequate minority representation on the school staff is
critical to integrated education. Just as student exposure
to students of other races and ethnic groups helps develop
racial understanding, tolerance, and appreciation, so also
does the presence of a multiracial and multiethnic staff.
Minorities in positions of responsibility help dispel
myths of racial inferiority and incompetence, provide
positive role models for all students, help ease the
adjustment of minority students and their parents as well as
majority teachers, and help provide a multicultural
Stereotypic ideas may be held by white and black
students and staff. Day-to-day interaction with minorities
as co-workers or as teachers and administrators can help
eradicate such misconceptions. This point was stressed by
Mogul Du Free, an elementary school teacher in Tampa, who
said: "I think that one of the things that has happened as a
result of desegregation. ..[ is that] the stereotyped idea
that Negro teachers [are] inferior is rapidly
A Tampa school administrator said that some white
parents request that their children be assigned to black
teachers because they feel it is a vital educational
opportunity. 187 A mother described her daughter's experience
in this area:
My child's favorite teacher in high school was her
black Spanish teacher, and without desegregation,
she never would have had this experience. I think
it was a very rewarding experience for my
Minority presence at all administrative and staff
levels is necessary to reinforce positive images for both
minority and majority students. i89 a community leader in
Stamford stressed the need for minority staff:
One other area that is constantly highlighted is
the low minority representation throughout the
school board's staff, especially the lack of black
and Hispanic personnel. It is well known that
students need to have that type imagery
This point was also made by a principal at the Berkeley open
meeting who said, "Oh, the kids definitely need role models.
They need to have minority people, the majority kids need to
have them, too."*'*
Moreover, the use of minority teachers in bilingual-
bicultural education programs contributes to a child's self-
concept through a positive reinforcement of his or her
background and culture.* '2 Self -concept is affected by
interaction with teachers, and language-minority teachers
are sometimes best able to communicate the encouragement and
understanding needed by language-minority children. *93
Additionally, minority staff can help ease the
adjustment of minority students to school desegregation. In
many instances, minority students are transferred from a
school where they were the majority to a school where they
are in the minority. In these instances, they are often
reassured by the presence of minority staff members who are
sensitive to their needs. A witness at the Boston hearing
addressed this issue, saying, "Youngsters began to say that
we don't feel comfortable unless we see some of ours
A student, asked if there should be more minority
teachers in his school, responded:
Definitely so. Because black and Puerto Rican
students feel that they can relate to somebody who
is either black or Puerto Rican. . .because the
majority of the teachers in the school are
white. .. .They don't know what it's like, you know,
to be living in a certain neighborhood. * 's
A study of school desegregation in Goldsboro, North
Carolina, found that "black students were more likely to
participate on a par with white students in open classrooms
in desegregated schools where the teaching staff was
balanced in leadership and competence between black and
white teachers. "» 9*
The presence of minorities on the staff can help
minority parents to become involved in school activities.
Accustomed to relating to minority teachers at a segregated
school, minority parents may find the desegregated
environment threatening. This may be especially true for
parents with limited proficiency in English. Carmen Castro,
executive director of the Spanish International Center of
Parents [ Hispanic ] have no way of communicating to
principals or teachers in other schools because
they do not have interpreters. [There was
the], . .problem of the child having to interpret
for the parent and interpret for the teacher, so
that heaven knew what went on. The parent would
never know what was going on.*'^
A teacher in Berkeley described how teachers of
different races can gain understanding by sharing problems:
[W]e [teachers] had meetings at least once a week
where we sat around and tried to deal with each
other and... work out problems that we were
having. . .dealing with a multiethnic
culture, ...[ I ]t was helpful to everyone. ... i ««
As part of the desegregation process, many school
districts introduce multicultural classes to the curriculum.
Because most textbooks fail to treat the culture and
historical contributions of minorities effectively, minority
staff members are often the best source for knowledge in
this area. Moreover, their presence gives credence to the
school's effort to recognize and appreciate the contribution
of all ethnic and racial groups. The contributions of black
Americans to science and medicine may be taken more
seriously if the nurse and the science department
chairperson are black. Similarly, the role of Hispanos in
American history may be more authentic to a student hearing
it for the first time when Hispanos are in positions of
responsibility. According to a recent study:
Desegregation exposes minority pupils to cultural
marginality and confusion as to their own
identity, unless the staff is interracial, unless
the curriculum recognizes the minority group
culture, and unless there is opportunity for
choice between assimilation and pluralism.*"
The School Desegregation Experience
what happens to minority staff representation when
school districts desegregate? Although no comprehensive
statistics are available, analysis of the 29 case studies
reveals that in 16 of the school districts, minority
employment increased following school desegregation. In
eight other school districts, minority employment remained
the same, and a decrease was reported in two.
In some school districts increases have been reported
solely for the teaching force; others have shown gains in
administrative positions. For example, prior to
desegregation in Providence, there were no black principals,
assistant principals, or central administrative staff. 200 By
1975 there were three black principals and five blacks on
the central administrative staff. Blacks in Memphis were
successful in securing an act of legislature that
restructured the school board to ensure the election of
blacks. 20* By 1973 three blacks served on the nine-member
board. 20 2
In many instances an effective impetus for change was a
court mandate. Some court orders have dealt only with the
reassignment of teachers and called for minority teachers to
be equally dispersed throughout the system; others have
mandated specific ratios; i.e. the ratio of minority
personnel should reflect the ratio of the city population or
the minority student population.
Only a few school districts have actively pursued
affirmative hiring practices on a voluntary basis. Minority
staff representation was addressed by the court orders in
Boston, Denver, Tampa (Hillsborough County schools) , and
Louisville. In Tampa and Denver affirmative action plans
have been in existence long enough to produce positive
In many northern school districts there is
underrepresentation of minorities in staff positions. With
the advent of school desegregation, discriminatory hiring
practices were often exposed and in some districts were
directly addressed as part of the court order. The 197U
court order in Denver required the school administration to
formulate an affirmative action plan to recruit and hire
Hispanos and blacks. 203 ^g early as 1970 black and Hispanic
organizations had pointed out the need for black and
Hispanic personnel. 20* However, very little was accomplished
in this area until the court mandate.
The judge subsequently indicated that the goal of the
plan should be to increase minority personnel hiring until
the ratio mirrored that of Chicano and black students.
In 1975 the student population in Denver was 17.8
percent black and 2U.1 percent Hispanic; the teaching force
in 1975 was 10.6 percent black and 4.8 percent Hispanic. In
compliance with the order, the Denver school system adopted
an affirmative action plan in March 1975 which includes
recruitment, employee development programs, and career
counseling, and provides job advancement provisions at all
staff levels. As of February 1976, blacks constituted 10.7
percent and Hispanics 6.1 percent of all teachers. In 197U
blacks accounted for 8.0 percent of all administrative
personnel, and by 1976 their percentage had increased to 9.8
percent. Corresponding percentages for Hispanos were H.7
and 6.1, respectively. 20s
In Boston inadequate representation of minorities on
the school staff was also addressed directly by the court
order. 206 While the student population during the 1972-73
school year was approximately 33 percent black, only 5.U
percent of the permanent teachers, 3.9 percent of the
principals and headmasters, and 5.7 percent of the assistant
principals and assistant headmasters were black. 207 The
court required placement of black teachers in schools in
accordance with the district wide proportion of black
teachers at that level of instruction. In addition, of 280
new permanent teachers, blacks and whites were to be hired
on a one-to-one ratio until every qualified black applicant
had been offered employment. 2 oe Three black recruiters were
hired by the school committee to assist in this employment
A few school districts have instituted affirmative
action programs voluntarily. As part of the desegregation
process in Berkeley in 1968, the school administration
adopted an affirmative action policy to "work as fast as
possible to bring the number of minority teachers more in
line with the number of minority students in the school
district. "210 a former school board member described the
...[W]e instructed him [personnel director] to go
out and search for minority teachers all across
the country. ...[ H]e went on tour throughout the
U.S. to try to find qualified teachers and workers
in the clerical area who could be brought to
Berkeley and interviewed for jobs because we felt
we had to be aggressive about this. 211
The Berkeley recruitment drive concentrated on
predominantly black universities and colleges. Community
and staff task forces served in an advisory capacity.
Although the school system has not reached its goal,
progress has been made. In 1968 blacks constituted 17
percent of the faculty, Asian Americans 4 percent, and
Hispanos 2 percent; in 1975 the percentages had increased to
27 percent, 7 percent, and U percent, respectively. The
system hired a black superintendent in 197U and two of its
three assistant superintendents are black. The student
population in 1968 and in 1975 was approximately 45 percent
black, 7 percent Asian American, and 3 percent Hispanic. 2*2
The Berkeley school system in the spring of 1976 was in the
paradoxical situation of anticipating a layoff of
approximately 120 teachers and because of a seniority
stipulation, it was anticipated that 80 percent would be
Under the segregated school system in the South, blacks
were hired to staff and administer black schools at all
levels. 21 3 However, as school systems were desegregated in
the late 1960s, the number of black staff members decreased
drastically. Black principals and department heads, as well
as faculty members, were often demoted or fired.
In many instances, it was obvious discrimination since
they were not given an opportxinity to compete for the
positions regardless of experience or education. 2»* Other
school districts, while using subtler forms of displacement,
produced similar results — black teachers were often placed
in classrooms out of their fields and then fired for
incompetence; reassigned as co-teachers with domineering
whites or as floating teachers without their own classrooms;
or assigned to nonprofessional positions such as hall
monitors. 2»5 Between 195U and 1970 while the black student
population in 17 Southern and Border States increased from
23 percent to 25 percent, the black teacher force decreased
from 21 percent to 19 percent. 21 6
In 1970 the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals responded to
the discriminatory treatment of minority educators in a
consolidated opinion covering 11 southern school districts.
In Singleton v. Jackson Municipal Separate School District
the court stated that:
Staff members who work directly with children and
professional staff who work on the administrative
level will be hired, assigned, promoted, paid,
demoted, dismissed or otherwise treated without
regard to race, color or national origin.
...[T]he district shall assign the staff... so that
the ratio of Negro to white teachers in each
school and the ratio of other staff in each, are
substantially the same as each such ratio is to
the teachers and other staff, respectively in the
entire school system. 217
Increasingly, court orders contain stipulations covering the
employment and assignment of minority staff and often
mandate specific minority staff ratios.
In Hillsborough County, the 1969 court order, 218 in
addition to requiring faculty desegregation, mandated that
faculty composition mirror the districtwide, black-white
student ratio, which was approximately 18 percent black, 82
percent white. At that time black teachers constituted
approximately 15 percent of the faculty. 2»9 In an effort to
comply with the court order, the school administration
launched a 4-year recruitment drive covering more than 20
predominantly black colleges and universities in 8 Southern
States. 220 As a result of this drive, the number of black
faculty members increased each succeeding year, from 732 in
the 1969-70 school year to 915 in the fall of 1975.221 While
this is an increase of only one percentage point, it is a
step in a positive direction, especially when contrasted
with occurrences in other southern school districts. (For
example, in Escambia County, Florida, between 1967 and 1970,
86 black teachers lost their jobs.) 222 Hillsborough County
also recorded an increase in administrative positions. In
1969, blacks occupied HO of 308 positions (13 percent) , and
in the fall of 1975, they held 60 of the 358 administrative
positions (20 percent) . Moreover, black teachers and
administrators who leave the system are replaced with
blacks. 2 23
The Hillsborough County administration, as a result of
Federal pressure, also plans to equalize employment
opportunities for women. 22* Although women constitute 73
percent of the faculty, they hold none of the top
administrative positions. 225 Additionally, of the 37
secondary principal ships, only 3 are held by women. 22*
The constitutional and educational grounds for
eliminating racially identifiable schools apply equally to
classrooms. However, in desegregated school districts
throughout the Nation, classes often are composed of
students of one racial or ethnic group or vary considerably
from the racial composition of the school. In the South,
for example, statistics compiled by the Southern Regional
Council show that two of every three school districts have
one or more schools with racially identifiable classrooms.
These districts include school systems in Alabama, Florida,
Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and
Tennessee. 227 a study in 1973 reported that of U67 southern
school districts, 35 percent of the high schools and 60
percent of the elementary schools had segregated
The most common cause of classroom segregation is the
educational practice of ability grouping. With the
exception of Mississippi, 7 out of 10 school districts
surveyed (in the 7 states mentioned above) that have
racially identifiable classrooms use ability grouping. 229
In schools in Southwestern States where Mexican
American students are less than 25 percent of the
enrollment, they constitute 35 percent of the low ability
group and 8 percent of the high ability group classes. In
schools 25 to 50 percent Mexican American, they constitute
57 percent of the low group and 19 percent of the high
group. In schools more than 50 percent Mexican American,
more than three of every four students in the low groups are
Mexican American, and only two of every five are Mexican
American in the high groups. 2 30
Research for the most part does not support ability
grouping. While it is argued that grouping students
according to their achievement levels ensures that academic
needs are met, research findings are almost uniformly
unfavorable with regard to its use in promoting scholastic
achievement, in low ability groups and are inconclusive in
its use for high ability groups. 23 i
Rather than providing an environment for meeting a
variety of needs of individual students in each group,
ability grouping assumes that students are equal in terms of
needs and capabilities. Furthermore, teachers of low
ability groups frequently are unprepared to teach these
classes and generally have low expectations of their
students. Course content may be watered down and
stimulation from more academically prepared students is
nonexistent. 23 2 a study by the National Education
Association indicates that less than 5 percent of teachers
at the elementary level and less than 2 percent at the
secondary level want to teach low ability groups. 233
Students are thus denied the opportunity of academic
challenge from both teachers and peers.
A Stamford teacher told the Commission, "Better
teachers are rewarded the higher groups. "234 a student
Your teachers in the lower group[ s]. . .they are put
there just to make sure you don't do anything in
class. You sit for a couple of hours and that's
it.... The teachers in the lower class don't show
any kind of interest. 23s
Students placed in low ability groups rarely perceive
themselves as equal to nor are they considered equal by
students in higher groups. This grouping tends to deflate
the self-esteem of students in low groups and inflate the
ego of those in high groups. 2 36 a student in Stamford
Well, the majority of the black students. . .when
they realize. . .why all the blacks are in this
class and... all the whites in that class....
Basically, it makes them feel like they are lower.
And then that builds... to be a hatred of white
people in general. .. .2'^
The courts have been fairly consistent in holding that
pupil assignment by standardized achievement or IQ test
scores is unconstitutional when the intended and actual
result is the perpetuation of the dual system, whether
segregation exists within the system as a whole, 23 8 within
individual schools, 23» or within individual classrooms. 2*o
In some districts school boards or school
administrators have explicit policies prohibiting classes of
any one race. The administration of Hillsborough County
Public Schools sent directives to teachers and
administrators stating that no one class should be more than
50 percent black. 24* At the Denver hearing, an associate
superintendent testified that schools were directed to
ensure that "classes not be allowed to be reorganized on a
segregated basis," and that schools were looking for
"alternative ways of grouping youngsters and organizing
classes and arranging for arrays of courses so that
youngsters would not have to discontinue sequences they had
already begun, but at the same time would not get involved
in a tracking arrangement. . .that results in
resegregation. "z^z The Dorchester, Maryland, school
district, in addition to eliminating tracking in the upper
grade levels, screened all classes to avoid all-black or
all-white classes. 2*3
Some schools have abolished ability grouping in certain
subjects. In Denver, for example, the principal of Smiley
Junior High School said that teachers had discussed the
problem of ability grouping and decided to abolish it first
in social studies. Ability grouping for other subjects had
been discussed, but no consensus was reached. 2»*
Ability grouping traps those students in the low
ability groups; they are rarely ever assigned to any other
group. 2*5 Furthermore, some students are not only assigned
a low ability group in one subject but "tracked" in the same
level in all subjects regardless of strength or weakness.
Ability grouping and tracking foreclose a student's chance
for ever excelling.
Many schools replace ability grouping with new teaching
approaches such as individualized instruction and team
teaching, facilitated by the creation of open classrooms or
learning centers. In open classrooms racial percentages are
often stipulated. In the sixth and seventh grade centers of
the Hillsborough County Public Schools, Florida, the
minority percentage of each group was stipulated at 20
Thus, although most data indicate that classroom
segregation is a serious problem in desegregated districts,
schools in the Commission's survey acknowledge the problem
and said they are seeking ways to deal with it.
Assignment to "Special Education" Classes
Segregation also occurs in "special education" classes,
such as those for children with problematic behavior or with
learning disabilities in which minority students are often
overrepresented. Minority students are often incorrectly
assigned to such classes. IQ test scores, the basis for
assignment to classes for the educable mentally retarded
(EMR) , have been found to be culturally biased and often
reflect achievement or a child's ability to take tests
rather than intelligence. 247 Moreover, white teachers and
school administrators who recommend placement in EMR classes
often are poor judges of minority student behavior or
A 197 3 study of a California school district found that
91 percent of the black students and 60 percent of the
Mexican American students placed in EMR classes on the basis
of IQ tests had been incorrectly assigned. 2*» In 1973 in
Texas, the Commission found that Mexican American students
were twice as likely to be placed in EMR classes as whites;
the ratio of black students was 3 1/2 times greater. 2so The
Office for Civil Rights of HEW in 1973 cited 1U districts in
the Southwest in noncompliance with Title VI on the grounds
of overinclusion of Mexican American students in special
education classes. 2*»
Testimony at the Tampa hearing indicates that black
students are overrepresented in classes for the educable
mentally handicapped (EMH) . The dean of girls of a junior
high school explained that although the basis for assignment
is low IQ test scores, most of the black students who score
low are "disruptive" rather than retarded and, thus, should
not be placed in EMH clases. She said they score low
because they have a history of absence from school and
therefore test poorly. 2 S2
The Louisville-Jefferson county public school system
has two programs for 700 disruptive students. One, called
the Alternative School, is a self-contained school for
students with "deviate behavior." It is 95 percent black.
The other, the youth development program, consists of
separate classrooms in 33 schools for students with less
serious behavioral problems. Students in this program are
80 percent white. 2^3 school administrators explain that the
alternative school was part of the majority-black Louisville
school system and the youth development program was part of
the majority-white Jefferson County system prior to merger
of the two districts in the fall of 1975. Most students,
they said, were assigned prior to merger, but no attempt has
been made to reevaluate and reassign students. Furthermore,
the difference in criteria in assigning students to either
program has not been clearly defined. zs*
In recognition of the discrimination involved. Federal
courts have ruled against the use of IQ tests in assigning
minority students to EMR classes. zss in Larry P . v. Riles ,
the San Francisco Unified School District was restrained
from placing black students in EMR classes "on the basis of
criteria which place primary reliance on the results of IQ
tests as they are currently administered, if the result of
use of such criteria is racial imbalance in the composition
of such classes. "256 in Diana v. State Board of Education,
California , 2S7 plaintiffs successfully challenged the use of
IQ tests in assigning Mexican American children to EMR
classes on the grounds that low IQ test scores resulted from
their unfamiliarity with the English language.
Participation in extracurricular activities helps
students develop leadership skills, respect for the
democratic process, competitiveness, and cooperation. It
makes the school experience more meaningful and tends to
enhance learning. In desegregated schools participation in
extracurricular activities is crucial, since it develops
feelings of belonging and a sense of pride in the new
school. Furthermore, it contributes to producing a truly
integrated school environment by providing students the
opportunity to discover common interests and goals.
Participation in extracurricular activities by students
of all races does not happen automatically when schools
desegregate. School administrators and teachers facilitate
participation by establishing policies governing
participation, providing transportation, supporting and
encouraging students to participate, publicizing events and
activities, and by an unwillingness to accept anything but
full participation. Since desegregation brings together an
entirely new student body, activities, clubs, and sports
that reflect the interests of all the students are planned.
Many desegregated school districts have made some efforts to
ensure the participation of all students, but these efforts
usually are limited and generally have fallen short of what
In Prince George's County, Maryland, school coaches
were instructed to accept all transferring athletes as team
members at the new school. Student government officers,
yearbook and newspaper staffs, school band members, and
cheerleaders from previous schools were to retain their
positions and serve jointly with officers and members at
their new schools. zse Despite this policy, participation in
extracurricular activities declined after desegregation
because of limited activity buses, failure to duplicate
special interest clubs, and lack of parental encouragement
to participate in activities. 2S9
Although most school districts report that they provide
activity buses or bus tokens for public transportation,
students testifying at Commission hearings often linked
limited participation in extracurricular activities to
transportation problems. A student from Brandon High School
in Hillsborough County Public Schools said, "Most of [the
black students ] live too far away to get involved in
activit[ies] at Brandon because of lack of
transportation. "2*0 A student at Kennedy High School in
Usually we have late gymnastics practice and it's
hard for me to get home within a certain amount of
time so I can still do my homework. That is the
big problem at Kennedy, I think... it's
transportation because I'm the only black coming
from northeast Denver who is on the gymnastics
team. They say that they can't get a bus for one
student, so they give me these tickets to catch
the city bus, but the city bus takes so much
time... when I get home, I barely have time to
study and then get a good night's rest. So it's
really hard from the transportation part. 26 »
In Louisville, a black student said:
I was on the advisory council, but I never did
make it to the meetings because I had no way to
get out there. I called several times to tell
them I had no transportation. I felt if they
really wanted us on the advisory council and
really wanted to hear what I had to say, they
would have provided transportation. 2*2
Schools sometimes compensate for inadequate
transportation by providing activity periods during the
regular school day. The principal of Dunbar Elementary
School in Hillsborough County explained how the school
surmounted the transportation problem:
We have a club day which is every other Friday; it
is from 1:30 to 2:30 and our students leave at
2:45. The clubs are sponsored by the teachers
with varying talents and it is a delightful
experience. . .we enjoy it. 263
Similarly, in Little Rock, Arkansas, student activities
such as student council meetings, drama, and art take place
during the regular school hours to avoid transportation
problems. 2 64
Encouragement from teachers and administrators, though
vital if minority students are to participate in
extracurricular activities, is often lacking, and left
alone, few students will choose to participate. Thelma
Shuma, dean of girls of H.B. Plant High School, Hillsborough
It is hard for them to get into these extra
activities because there is such a small number of
them... they just feel [like] outsiders.
...If the total administration and teachers at the
school would encourage the black students to
become involved, help them to become involved,
then I think it would help. But they just leave
it up to the student. . .and they don't get
involved. 26 5
Publicizing activities is one way to encourage
participation. A student from Brandon High School,
...[T]he whites tell their friends about it
[extracurricular activities] and they tell their
friends. . .blacks don't really get interested or
know about the clubs. . .[There' s a] lack of
information. They just don't know about it. 2*6
This student also said that encouragement is provided by
black teachers but not white teachers. 267
At Burke High School in Boston, white students
hesitated to join sports teams that are predominantly black.
According to Burke's coach, efforts to encourage white
students to join the basketball team failed the first year.
but continued encouragement yielded four times as many white
students for the following year's team. He explained:
The [white] kids have become much more comfortable
in the situation. The white kids are even causing
trouble now, where they weren't at the beginning
of the year, which is a--you don't want it, but it
is a very natural thing. 268
The Tulsa, Oklahoma, Independent School District faced
the problem systemwide. School officials conducted
workshops for the student council, cheerleaders, and pep
club sponsors to explore the reason for lack of minority
participation and to develop ways to encourage greater
participation. 2*» Some schools in Hillsborough County
require the student council to be representative of both
bused and nonbused students. Although this policy has been
effective in ensuring minority participation on the student
council, it has not been used for interest clubs. 2^0
When schools have been successful in bringing about
participation of all students in extracurricular activities,
students of different racial and ethnic backgrounds are
likely to view each other as equals. The dean of boys of a
junior high school in Hillsborough County told the
We had a dance 2 weeks ago. It was formal, most
of the boys appeared in tuxedos. The pupils
elected a king and a queen from the ninth grade,
and a prince and princess from the eighth grade.
our king is white; our queen is Cuban; our prince
is black; our princess is Cuban. 27»
Students, the major actors in the school desegregation
process, consistently adjust to school desegregation in a
Superintendents queried in the Commission' s national
survey said that a majority of students, both white and
minority, supported desegregation in their districts. This
was true of minority students in 72 percent of the districts
and of white students in 62 percent. Furthermore, student
support reportedly increased substantially after the
desegregation plan was in operation. 2^2 In interviews and
hearing testimony these feelings were generally expressed in
very personal terms relating to individual experiences. One
student in Denver said:
when I first heard about going to Manual, I was
...in eighth grade... and I think I might have been
really scared. . .except my mom had been working
with Mr. Ward and a lot of the kids and teachers
and she knew a lot about it.
And I had a lot of support from the house, my mom
and older friends who are going to Manual now, and
they said, "Don't be scared of it, now it's really
great." And I think so now. 273
Positive attitudes have been expressed by students even
in school districts marked by disruptions and chaos. In
Pontiac, Michigan, where protests and violence characterized
the beginning of school desegregation, parents and school
personnel said that students, rather than the school board
or central school administrators, had provided substantial
leadership. 274 students at one school formed an organization
known as The Group "to show the positive side of
integration." During the following school year, several
thousand students throughout the system joined The Group in
support of the motto "We Can Make it Work."2''5
In Boston, another district marked by violence,
students testifying at the Commission's hearing emphasized
the benefits of school desegregation. One student said:
...what really sort of made me mad about the whole
school year was all the good things that happened
at Jerry [Jeremiah E. Burke High School]... it was
never brought out. . .[ W]ithin the school it was
brought out, but in the community, and the whole
city of Boston, the media just kept [reporting]
the bad things that were happening about
desegregation in the schools. 276
While busing is considered an inconvenience by some
students, many students view it as a positive and often
enjoyable experience. The Southern Regional Council found
that students who are bused to school are more favorable
toward busing than students who are not and that students in
general are more positive about busing than adults. 277 a
Tampa student concisely expressed his feelings about the bus
ride, "It is all right with me because I like to ride. "278
Another Tampa student testified that her mother drove her to
school because the bus ride would necessitate arising at
...I would have to leave at a quarter to 6:00 if I
wanted to ride the bus, therefore get up at a
quarter to 5:00.
This way, since I get a ride to school, I don't
have to get up until 5:30, so I get extra
A parent described her son's feelings about the bus ride:
"He really rather enjoys the bus ride. On occasion I have
offered to give him transportation home, and I have been
reprimanded severely for that. "28 o
Student testimony received by the Commission indicated
that although desegregation initially had been a frightening
or difficult adjustment because of preconceived notions or
prejudices, it subsequently proved to be a worthwhile
experience and essential preparation for life. A white
student in Stamford said:
...I happen to think that integration was the best
thing that ever happened to me. I think it's
really taught me to live with a lot of different
people . . . .[T]hrough six grades in school, I was
with only whites, and only with people who were
around me. And I was, of course, all of a sudden
thrown into a completely different atmosphere.
And the adjustment was tough. But I learned to
deal with it.... So I think it's done me well and I
happen to agree with it.^si
A student in Minneapolis described his experience with
...I feel that it has opened my mind and going to
school with people from different
backgrounds. . .has probably far more prepared me
than sitting in an all-white school and learning
Greek and Latin and so-called classical education.
I think that getting out and meeting people from
different backgrounds has probably better prepared
me than. .. spending all that time learning at an
all-white school .202
A black student expressed his views:
You won't know about people until you are mixed
with them. And I think school is really where
people get together and people mix, ...and I'd
rather go to an integrated school than an
all-black school. 283
A student in Louisville said:
If I hadn't gone to Thomas Jefferson, I would
really be a narrow-minded person, because before I
went there I went to a... private, all-white
school, and I had no idea what other people were
like, I couldn't care less.
I didn't want to associate with anybody except
whites. But at Thomas Jefferson, I got to where
color didn't matter to me.... I didn't care whether
they were black or not, it was what type of person
they were, and I couldn't understand why so many
people were so bigoted or prejudiced. 28*
When student disruptions occur they are almost always
of short duration and with time students quickly adjust to
one another. Moreover, disturbances cited as racial
incidents by the media or opponents of school desegregation
most often are viewed differently by school personnel and
students. Staff at several high schools in Tampa
consistently cited overcrowding as the cause of school
disturbances during the beginning stages of school
desegregation, rather than racial confrontations. ^es
Increasingly, disturbances are seen simply as conflicts
between students rather than racial incidents. A student in
It's not racial stuff — just fights. Two white
kids, two black kids; maybe it's black and white.
That doesn't make any difference, it's two kids
that have to fight it out because of a
di sagreement .286
In Charlotte, North Carolina, black and white students
held a press conference to request that the superintendent,
school board, and media "leave them alone" and stop blowing
minor incidents out of proportion. The students said they
were getting along fine. 28?
Promoting Positive Racial Attitudes
Fostering positive student racial attitudes is one of
the goals made possible by school desegregation. School
districts have produced positive results by providing
opportunities for students to meet and interact both before
the beginning of school and during the school year. These
activities range from picnics and ice cream socials to
retreats and summer jobs helping to reorganize the school.
students in Hillsborough County schools were involved from
the very beginning, with 30 students serving as members of
the citizens' committee which helped draft the plan. zee
During the semester prior to school desegregation in
Springfield, Massachusetts, orientation programs for parents
and students were held at both sending and receiving
schools. The program included a tour of the facilities,
explanation of curricula, and question and answer sessions
with the principal and faculty. ze 9
Similarly, Denver students and staff from a number of
receiving schools went to feeder schools to inform pupils
about available courses and extracurricular activities and
to reduce fears or anxieties. z'o A Denver organization
sponsored a youth involvement program and brought students
from various schools to YWCA facilities to swim and
socialize prior to the beginning of the school year.*'* One
Denver high school hired students over the summer to help
prepare for school desegregation. 292 students assisted in
marking books, mimeographing, taking inventory, and working
with teachers to plan student orientation activities and
discuss potential problems. The principal expressed the
philosophy behind establishing such programs.
...We felt that there had to be meetings where
students could get together during that summer
prior to the opening of school in the fall to see
what they could do to alleviate same of the kinds
of tensions and problems and negative feelings
that both parents and students would have. 2'3
In Minneapolis, black and white students, including
proponents and opponents of school desegregation,
participated in a retreat. Its purpose was to acquaint them
with one another, discuss problems, and obtain suggestions
and recommendations. 2 94 The Berkeley superintendent created
a task force of students who met with him on a regular basis
to discuss the expectations, fears, and differences between
cultural groups. These students became advocates for
desegregation in their respective schools. 2»*
During the early stages of desegregation, schools used
varied techniques to keep students informed, help them
adjust, and promote intergroup contacts, A teacher in the
Denver school system devoted some class time to an
explanation of the school desegregation issue. A student
testified to the importance of this class.
He discussed the whole issue of... busing, how it
came about and the constitutional issue; and it
really helped me, because before that I didn't
know about it.
And this year, I know he's maybe touched on it a
couple of times, and the students are aware. z'*
A teacher described her system of orienting students to
their new environment:
I made plans to make the children feel as
comfortable as possible at the school, so I set up
a buddy system. ..[ T ]he children who had been
attending Moore School would be a buddy, paired
with someone from the satellite area. And I felt
like this would make them feel more at home.z'^
In many school districts, students are organized in
human relations or biracial councils. Although known by
various titles and with different organizational structures,
the councils have generally been established to promote
positive student relations and a positive school spirit.
Student advisory committees in Tampa, consisting of an equal
number of minority and majority students, were organized in
all secondary schools. z's The committees provided a forum
for student interaction between the races and for developing
appreciation of diverse backgrounds.
Similarly, in Austin, Texas, triethnic student human
relations committees (black, white, and Mexican American)
organized activities to foster positive attitudes toward
desegregation. 2 99 Racially mixed student coordinating
councils operate in the schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg to
promote student involvement. 30o in a Denver high school,
black and white students who "had it together" were
organized into the "Smiley Action Team." If a student
encountered a problem of a racial nature, he or she would be
"buddied" for a day or two with a member of the "Smiley
Action Team," usually of the opposite race.'oi
In Bogalusa, Louisiana, orientation of students to
school desegregation and human relations activities were
notably absent. 302 Racial relations among students have
been strained since the initial stages of school
desegregation and remained the same in 1976.303 in fact,
school activities are kept to a minimum and each year two
high school proms are held, one black and one white. ^o*
School districts can contribute greatly to the
promotion of positive student racial attitudes. By creating
an environment that is not merely desegregated but truly
integrated, much can be done to prepare students for life in
a pluralistic society. A Denver student, when asked what
stood out as the most significant experience of her senior
year, responded: "I think, to me, it was learning that the
world wasn't made up of the Bear Valley that I had always
known. Now it's not secluded and there is not such an
ethnic idea about our little community. "3os
DISCIPLINE IN DESEGREGATED SCHOOLS
Minority parents in most desegregated school districts
are seriously concerned that a higher proportion of minority
youngsters are subject to disciplinary measures, primarily
suspensions and expulsions, than white students. The
disproportion is most evident in statistics on student
suspensions. The Department of Health, Education, and
Welfare reported the following facts based on an analysis of
its 1973 school desegregation survey:
...minority students are being kept out of school
as a disciplinary measure more frecpiently and for
longer periods of time than nonminority students.
...the frequency of expulsions and suspensions of
black, Spanish-surnamed, Asian American, and
Native American- Indian students is nearly twice
that of white students. The average length of a
suspension is nearly a day more for a minority
student than for a white student. 306
The problem is of such magnitude that many studies have
been conducted to determine its cause and consequences. 3 o^
Many school officials say that racially disproportionate
suspensions do not mean racial discrimination, that "black
overrepresentation among those suspended or expelled is
simply incident to the fair administration of essential
school rules designed to safeguard the integrity of the
teaching and learning environment. "^oe Minority students, on
the other hand, often see racially disproportionate
suspensions as a lack of fairness in the application of
school rules and discipline. The disparity is of such a
magnitude, however, as to make any nonracial explanation
suspect in some quarters. The consequence of mass
suspension and expulsion of minority students is that many
of these people become disillusioned and drop out or, more
accurately, are pushed out of school. ^O'
In Hillsborough County, Florida, during 1970-71, the
year prior to total desegregation, 4,805 students were
suspended. During 1971-72, the first year of desegregation,
8,598 students were suspended. In 1973-7U the number
increased to a peak of 10,1U9, almost 10 percent of the
student population, and about half were minority students
who were only 20 percent of the total school enrollment. '* o
Hillsborough County school officials maintain that, although
a disproportionate number of minority students are
suspended, it is not due to discrimination but that a large
proportion of black students are disobeying the rules. 3*»
The black community, concerned for some time over the
number of black student suspensions, filed a complaint with
the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of
Health, Education, and Welfare charging discrimination in
the administration of discipline. After an investigation,
HEW notified the school district that its disciplinary
policies had a discriminatory impact on minority students
and it should develop an affirmative action plan to
alleviate the problem. 3*2
During the first 4 months of desegregation in Denver,
3,844 students were suspended, 2,748 of whom were minority
students. Of the junior high school suspensions, 73 percent
were minority students although they constituted only 45
percent of the junior high population. HEW's Office for
Civil Rights had notified the Denver school superintendent
of probable noncompliance with the Emergency School Aid Act
regulation governing the administration of disciplinary
sanctions3i3 and recommended that they review and analyze
incidents of suspension to determine what causes or
procedures had led to the disproportionate suspension of
minority students. OCR further suggested that alternatives
be tried, using suspension only as a last resort, but warned
against alternatives which segregate children and provide
inferior services and education. In reference to the
desegregation process, OCR stated that particular attention
should be given to the transition pressure for children
entering certain schools. ^i*
Disproportionate discipline is evident even at the
elementary level. A Denver elementary school teacher
expressed his concern about the disparate treatment of
I became very upset that every time I would walk
into the office, the office would be full of
blacks and Chicanes to be disciplined. It just
didn't set right with me... why was it that
Chicanes and blacks were the only ones causing
trouble in the school? Why were they always
sitting on the bench?3»*
The suspension problem in the Jefferson County Public
Schools in Louisville is a major concern of black leaders
and parents. 31* In April 1976 the Louisville Times reported
that some Jefferson County high schools were suspending
black students at rates 7 to 15 times as high as the rate
for white student suspensions, and that black suspensions
were highest in newly desegregated schools that were part of
the old, predominantly white, county school system. In
schools formerly part of the Louisville city school system,
the suspension rate for blacks was markedly lower. County
principals maintain that the disparity is justified because
they are having special discipline problems with black
students who became used to lax discipline in the city
schools they attended before desegregation. '»7 The
newspaper quoted several principals:
Those kids just can't adjust to the fact that you
don't leave class when you want to, you don't come
to school when you want to. 3**
...those kids tend to talk back more, they tend to
be louder, they tend to express themselves with
less hesitation and reservation. They tend to
fire back at you.3i9
Another white principal in a formerly predominantly
white county school, who asked not to be named in the news
article, was quoted as saying:
I think there ought to be some alternative where a
person is suspended as an in-school type of thing,
but he doesn't go to a classroom. He goes to a
rock pile and he's supervised by two Marine drill
sergeants. He goes to the compound for six hours
a day, and he works. He sweats. ^ 20
City principals deny that city schools are lax in
requiring discipline and say that many of the problems are
caused by insensitivity of county principals:
Black kids have a different culture. They talk
differently than white kids and some of the people
in [the county] schools are not used to it. So,
instead of trying to get used to it, the thing
that they use to get the kids under control is ...
suspension. . . ^zi
In Berkeley, where disproportionately high suspension
of black students also is an issue. Dr. Ramona Maples,
associate director of research for the school district,
offered this explanation: "Black children still do not know
how to beat the system. They do not know the appropriate
way to get through the system without getting punished." Dr.
Maples said that more black male children are disciplined
than any other group. 32 2
In Prince George's County almost 4 6 percent of the
students suspended in the 3-month period following
desegregation were black, although black students were only
about 25 percent of the student population. ^23 a white
administrator for Prince George's County schools admitted
that the racial attitudes of school personnel could
contribute to the high number of black suspensions:
I personally would expect that the suspension rate
for whites and blacks would conform generally to
the racial distribution of students in the system.
If proportionately greater numbers of blacks are
suspended than whites, I think we have a problem
of discrimination. '24
In Prince George's County, officials also cited
inconsistency in the application of discipline. Black and
white school personnel noted a general "inattentiveness" to
the behavior of black students by many white teachers. One
teacher stated that some white teachers say they are afraid
of black students and allow them to cut class and roam the
halls while compelling white students to follow the rules.
This attitude, many felt, was "the most derogatory attitude
possible" because it led black students to misbehave
further. A black counselor said that "fear of black
students" was a "copout" because "the plain and simple fact
is that they don't care about these children. "' 25
Disciplinary policies which allow students to avoid
suspension if their parents come to the school for a
conference can result in lower suspension rates for white
students. Minority parents often are unable to come to
school for a teacher conference because they work or do not
have transportation. A review of Richland County School
District No. 1 in South Carolina revealed that, because of
white parental conferences, white students receive fewer or
shorter suspensions. 32 6 a black community leader in Tampa
T submit that the reason more white students are
disciplined within the school and kept there
without having to be suspended or expelled is
because more white parents are available for
conference with the school administrators and to
work out the problems on the spot or through a
continuing basis. ^z?
School desegregation frequently is followed by a
toughening of disciplinary rules and regulations, often at
the urging of white antidesegregation groups. Citizens for
Community Schools, an antibusing group in Prince George's
County, joined by some county teachers, shifted its
attention from busing and desegregation to student conduct.
The toughness of the system's disciplinary policies also
became a key point of debate among candidates during the
1973 school board race.^za in Louisville-Jefferson County
with the implementation of desegregation, the teachers'
union pushed for a strong disciplinary policy. ^ 29
Discipline or behavior codes are usually very general
and most punishable offenses depend upon the subjective
judgment of teachers, such as annoying classmates, lack of
cooperation, rude and discourteous behavior, restlessness
and inattentiveness, excessive talking, and mischief. ^30
Because individual principals usually have complete
authority over discipline, all schools do not operate under
the same behavior codes. Consequently, when desegregation
reassigns students, they must often adjust to new rules and
regulations. In Prince George's County schools, the
...standards of discipline in individual schools
varied widely throughout the county. The absence
of a single, systemwide code of discipline caused
the greatest adjustment problems for students who
transferred from a relatively lenient school to a
strict school. For these students the problem of
adjusting was occasionally compounded by the fact
that some schools reportedly failed to orient
their new students adequately. As a result, some
students learned the new rules the hard way. ...33i
Litigation and Civil Rights Complaints
Minority parents have begun to challenge the
discriminatory aspects of the administration of discipline.
In Tillman v. Dade County School Board the issue centered on
fighting between black and white students. ^32 Although
evidence failed to prove whether blacks or whites had
initiated the disruption, all but 6 of the 93 students
initially suspended were black. With some suspensions
lifted, 1 white student and U7 black students were suspended
for 10 or more days. In this incident, school authorities
had summoned the police, who separated black and white
students who were fighting by pushing the white students off
the campus while containing the blacks inside the school.
The court accepted the defendants' position that police
action had caused only black students to be easily
identified and apprehended for misconduct. 33'
In contrast, a Federal court in Dallas, Texas, ruled
that disciplinary policies were applied in a racially
discriminatory manner following desegregation in that city's
schools. Of 10,3U5 students suspended in 1971, 5,aa9 were
black. 33* Asked to explain the high rate of black
suspensions, the Dallas school superintendent testified that
institutional racism and racism among individuals was the
Civil rights and parent groups also have filed
complaints with HEW which, under Title VI of the Civil
Rights Act of 196U and the Emergency School Aid Act, has a
responsibility to ensure that school districts do not
practice discrimination. In one such complaint filed
against Richland County School District No. 1 (Columbia,
South Carolina), HEW reviewed the district's student
disciplinary practices, including statistical data and
written policies and procedures. HEW also interviewed
central staff, school personnel, and students at selected
schools. The statistics showed a disproportionate
suspension rate of minority students. The review found that
the ratio of minority students suspended for subjective
offenses was disproportionate to the ratio of whites
suspended for similar offenses. It also found that
administrators and teachers ("vestiges of the racially
separate dual school system") had not been adequately
prepared to deal with the problems of adjustment to a
desegregated school environment. 33 6
Minority students are more often suspended for
"institutionally inappropriate behavior. "337 ^g one author
said, "When a black student or parent refers to
institutional racism. .. he is arguing. . .that the institution
has an obligation to alter its rules to make them less
arbitrary and more consistent with the behavior patterns
among blacks. "^ 38 on the other hand, the author notes,
"When a white student or parent argues the need for
discipline, he is implicitly sanctioning the system of
institutional rules and maintaining that black children must
learn to adapt to that system. "3 39
Thus, basic differences in culture, lifestyle, and
experiences in a white- dominated society and the reluctance
of the system to accommodate these differences account, in
part, for the high rate of suspension for minority students.
In Hillsborough County a witness said:
...during [the human relations workshops ].. .there
was no indepth attention given to some. ..of the
major problems. . .cultural awareness as to dress
styles, language barriers, and the black psyche in
general, by which I mean the way a student reacts
to a verbal command of authority from a white
I feel there was some insensitivity on the part of
teachers because. . .there is a tendency of black
people to view whites as the oppressor and the way
in which you give a command to a student or order
him to do something has a lot to do with his
Efforts to Remedy the Problem
Individual schools have approached the problem of
minority suspensions in a variety of ways. A principal in
Richland County, South Carolina, does not believe in
suspensions. Her technique for curbing suspensions includes
working with classroom teachers to identify potential
behavior problems, using the voluntary services of a local
university's psychology department to test and interview
these students, and, where necessary, working with community
service organizations to establish communication with the
family. Where discipline is necessary, measures are used
such as work details or special assignments with close
teacher supervision. 3* *
A Jefferson County, Kentucky, principal, whose school
has the lowest suspension figures in the district for both
black and white students, said he does not suspend students
unless county school policy requires it. He noted that a
youngster often has problems in a single class and,
conseqpiently, he will suspend the student only from that
class. 3*2 A school in Berkeley has established a help
center where students are counseled and can talk about their
problems. Students involved in a fight for the first time
are sent to the help center. If a second fight occurs, they
are again sent to the center and their parents are told that
a third referral will result in suspension. 3*3
A Denver principal testified that her school uses
overnight suspensions for students who repeatedly are
involved in "some kind of minor infraction of school rules."
According to the principal:
In an attempt to involve the home and to let the
parents know what we are saying and what we are
doing and why we are doing it, we will suspend Tom
Jones at the end of his schedule today, and say
you cannot come back tomorrow morning until we
talk with your parents. Please bring your parents
back with you or contact us by phone, if they are
working. So we have quite a number of .. .overnight
suspensions. But the youngster is not missing
While most administrators tend to deny categorically
that racial discrimination is involved in the high
suspension rates for minority students, few have studied the
problems in their own districts. Where efforts have been
made, it appears that school systems may not be able to
evaluate themselves objectively. In both Hillsborough
County, Florida, and Jefferson County, Kentucky, school
administrators recognized the problem of disproportionate
suspension rates of minority students. 3*5 But neither
school district has made an investigation of the issue.
In Jefferson County, the Federal judge ordered the
school district to investigate disciplinary procedures, but
the subsequent report, basically a survey of opinion on
whether or not the disciplined student committed the
offense, did not look at some of the core issues. 3** For
example, no comparison was made of the types of offenses for
which black and white students were suspended, or the length
of time each was suspended. There was no analysis of the
judgmental aspects of discipline or of teachers and schools
with the most discipline referrals. The discipline codes
were not analyzed for cultural bias.
The Office for Civil Rights of the Department of
Health, Education, and Welfare has undertaken a program to
determine compliance with civil rights statutes in school
systems where there appear to be possible violations in the
administration of student disciplinary actions. OCR has
issued requirements for keeping records on student
disciplinary procedures. 3*7 These records will also be useful t
district doing a self-evaluation.
The complexity of the problem cannot be overlooked.
School administrators must recognize that desegregation
requires reevaluation of all school policies and procedures
to ensure that they do not have a discriminatory effect on
minority children. Discipline codes, the cultural standards
on which they are based, and whether they are fair standards
for all children must be examined. Similarly, teacher
attitudes, the verbal and nonverbal signals they use to
convey acceptance or disapproval, and how different groups
of students receive such messages should be studied. Only
when administrators and teachers become sensitive to the
problem can effective solutions be found.
On the issue of discipline and its devastating effect
on the education of both minority and poor children, a
community leader in Louisville said: "There has to be a
better way. Instead of trying to find an alternative to
busing... our elected officials and... the school board
[should] find alternatives to suspensions. "'♦•
Note To Chapter III
1. John Egerton, School Desegregation; A Report Card from
the South (Atlanta: Southern Regional Council, April 1976) ,
2. U.S., Commission on Civil Rights, Virginia Advisory
Committee, The Federal Role in School Desegregation in
Selected Virginia Districts (1968), p. 5.
3. It should be noted that there was opposition by leaders
in districts which had no disruptions (e.g., in 35 percent
of these districts, local business leaders were opposed to
U. U.S., Commission on Civil Rights, School Desegregation
in Ten Ccwimunities (1973) , p. 20 (hereafter cited as Ten
Communities ) .
5. U.S., commission on Civil Rights, Desegregating the
Boston Schools t A Crisis in Civic Responsibility (1975) , p.
vlii (hereafter cited as Crisis in Civic Responsibility) .
6. Ibid., p. 66.
7. Berkeley transcript, testimony of Carol Sibley, former
school board member, p. A- 4 7.
8. Ibid., p. A-46.
9. Ten Communities , p. 151.
10. Minneapolis, Minn., Case Study, p. 25.
11. U.S., Commission on Civil Rights, A Long Day's Journey
into Light ; School Desegregation in Prince George's County
(1976) , p. 3'»3 (hereafter cited as Long Day's Journey) ;
Vaughns v. Board of Education of Prince George's County,
(355 F. Supp. 1038, 1063 (D. Md. 1972)).
12. Bogalusa, La., Case Study, p. 2U.
13. Greenville, Miss., Case study, pp. 6, 7.
m. Ten Communities , p. 109.
15. Ibid., p. 66.
16. Denver transcript, p. 197.
17. Ibid., p. 188.
18. Crisis in Civic Responsibility , p. 29.
19. Boston, Mass., Office of the Mayor, press release,
Sept. 9, 1975.
20. Long Day* s Journey , p. 373.
22. Tampa transcript, p. 201.
23. The State Journal (Frankford, Ky.) , Sept. 7, 1975, p.
24. Louisville transcript, testimony of Jefferson County
Judge Todd Hollenbach, pp. 474-76.
25. Denver transcript, testimony of Art Dill, p. 191.
26. Tampa transcript, p. 175.
27. Ibid., p. 176.
28. Crisis in Civic Responsibility , p. 29. See also, James
F. Fisk and Raymond T. Galvin, "A Consultant Report on the
Boston Police Department During the 1974-75 School
Desegregation," draft report to the U.S. Commission on Civil
Rights, June 3 0, 1975.
29. John Egerton, Promise of Progress, Memphis School
Desegregation , 1972 - 1973 (Atlanta: . Southern Regional
council, 1973) .
30. Ibid., p. 13.
31. Ibid., p. 8.
32. Ibid., p. 23.
33. Tampa transcript, testimony of W. Scott Christopher,
pp. 72, 73.
34. Greenville, Miss., Case Study, p. 6.
35. Staff Investigation Summary, Louisville and Jefferson
County, pp. 28-36.
36. Denver transcript, testimony of Bishop Melvin Wheatly,
United Methodist Church of Denver, p. 119-20, and Bishop
George Evans, vicar of urban affairs, Roman Catholic
Archdiocese of Denver, pp. 121-22.
37. Ibid., p. 122.
38. Denver transcript, testimony of Lorie Young, p. 7U0.
39. Egerton, Promise of Progress , p. 11.
ao. Ibid., pp. 15-16.
41. Corpus Christi, Tex., Case Study, p. 88.
42. Crisis in Civic Responsibility , p. 200.
43. Ibid., pp. 201-2.
44. Ibid., pp. 202-3.
45. Dorchester County, Md. , Case Study, p. 19.
46. Greenville, Miss., Case Study, p. 7, 15.
47. Louisville transcript, testimony of Lois Cronholm,
director, Louisville-Jefferson County Human Relations
Commission, p. 375.
48. Ibid., testimony of Galen Martin, director, Kentucky
Commission on Human Relations, pp. 376-77.
49. Ibid., p. 377.
50. "The Burden of Responsibility," Courier - Journal , Aug.
51. See, for example, Minneapolis Case Study, p. 17; also,
Tampa transcript, testimony of E.L. Bing, assistant
sujjerintendent for supportive services, Hillsborough County
School District, p. 38.
52. See, for example, testimony of Rev. Richard Kerr,
chairman. People Let's Unite for Schools, Denver transcript,
53. Crisis in Civic Responsibility , p. 80.
5a. Ibid., pp. 85-86.
55. Greenville, Miss., Case Study, p. 13.
56. Crisis in Civic Responsibility , Finding No. 13, p. 53.
57. Ibid., Finding No. 21, p. 73.
58. Tampa transcript, Bing testimony, p. 38.
59. Mannings v. Board of Public Instruction of Hillsborough
County, Florida, 277 F.2d 370 (5th Cir. 1960).
60. Tampa transcript, Bing testimony, p. U6.
61. Prehearing interviews, Jan. 12, to Mar. 26, 1976,
62. Minneapolis, Minn., Case Study, p. 17.
63. Ibid., p. 21.
6i». Kalamazoo, Mich., Case Study, p. 4.
65. Ibid., p. 7.
66. See, for example. Long Day's Journey , p. 3 54; Berkeley
transcript, testimony of Ramona Maples, p. A-90.
67. Harold Clark, general area director, Hillsborough
County schools, interview in Tampa, Jan. 16, 1976.
68. Fred Crawford, equal opportunity specialist. Community
Relations Service, U.S. Department of Justice, interview in
Tampa, Mar. 1, 1976.
69. Tampa transcript, p. 399.
70. Ibid., p. UOO.
71. Ibid., p. 399.
72. Berkeley transcript, testimony of Ramona Maples, p. A -
73. Boston transcript, testimony of Ellen Jackson,
director. Freedom House Institute on Schools and Education,
74. Ibid., pp. 212-13.
75. See, for example, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, The
Diminishing Barrier : A Report on School Desegregation in
Nine Communities , 1972, p. 46 (hereafter cited as
Diminishing Barrier); Springfield, Mass., Case Study , p. 11.
76. Ossining, N.Y., Case Study, p. 9.
77. Berkeley, Calif., Case Study, p. 18.
78. Denver transcript, testimony of Mary Ann McClain, p.
79. Ibid., testimony of Nancy Widmann, p. 961.
80. Springfield, Mass., Case Study, p. 11.
81. Louisville transcript, testimony of Joseph McPherson,
principal. Central High School, pp. 604-05.
82. Denver transcript, p. 800.
83. Title VII of the Education Amendments of 1972 provides
funds for implementation of voluntary and court-ordered
desegregation plans in schools. 20 U.S.C. §1601 et seq .
(Supp. II 1972) .
84. Egerton, Report Card from the South , p. 18.
85. Ten Communities , p. 163; Diminishing Barrier , p. 7.
86. Boston transcript, pp. 251-52.
87. Crisis in Civic Responsibility , p. vi.
88. See, for example, Ossining, N.Y. , Case Study, p. 13;
Long Day's Journey , p. 33 6; Egerton, Promise of Progress ,
89. Promise of Progress , pp. 8-9.
90. Denver transcript, testimony of Richard Kerr, p. 109;
testimony of Maurice Mitchell, p. 71,
91. Keyes v. School District No. 1, Denver, Colorado, 413
U.S. 189 (1973).
92. Denver transcript, p. 109.
93. Ibid., pp. 71-72.
94. Ibid., p. 962. A parent organization in Denver, for
example, sponsors monthly programs at individual schools
which consist of a number of cultural exchange activities.
95. Ibid., p. 795. Reference is made to The East and
Manual Supporters (TEAMS) , an active parent organization
that assisted in the implementation of desegregation at
those high schools.
96. Tampa transcript, pp. 656-57.
97. Louisville transcript, testimony of Ernest c. Grayson,
superintendent, Jefferson County Board of Education, pp.
98. Ibid., testimony of Rev. Thomas Quigley, director,
Louisville Area Interchurch Organization for Service
(LAIOS) , p. 562.
99. Denver transcript, p. 75.
100. Tampa transcript, testimony of Stephen Sessums, former
chairman of the Bi-Racial Advisory Committee, p. 438. This
committee, created by court order, serves in an advisory
capacity in three areas: the selection of school
construction sites, the establishment of boundary lines, and
application for transfers from assigned schools.
101. Ibid., testimony of Joanna Jones, member of the Bi-
Racial Advisory Committee, p. 804.
10 2. Satellite attendance zones are attendance areas that
are geographically noncontiguous to the school. Pairing or
grouping of schools is achieved when attendance areas of two
or more schools are merged so that each serves different
grade levels for a new larger attendance area. Clustering
is similar to the process of pairing but usually involves
more schools. Grade-locking refers to the establishment of
one- or two-grade centers, for example, a school which
serves only sixth graders or sixth and seventh graders. A
magnet school ranges from a full-time school with special
academic programs to a center with programs which supplement
basic academic skills taught in the regular classroom. In
the South the black schools were frequently closed because
of the inadequacy of the facilities.
103. U.S., Department of Health, Education, and Welfare,
National Institute of Education, Summary of Statistics on
School Desegregation Issues, April 1976, pp. 1,2.
10U. The figure $129 million was compiled by multiplying the
number of pupils bused for school desegregation purposes
times the per pupil transportation cost. U.S. Department of
Health, Education, and Welfare, National Center for
Educational Statistics, 1973-74.
105. Marian Wright Edelman, "Winson and Dovie Hudson's
Dream," Harvard Educational Review , vol. U5, no. 4 (1975),
106. Ibid., pp. 444-445.
107. Ibid., p. 445.
108. U.S., Department of Health, Education, and Welfare,
National Institute of Education, Statistics on Selected
Desegregation Issues, April 1976, p. 2.
109. Reassignment data were compiled from 491 school
districts and busing data from approximately 250. U.S.,
Commission on Civil Rights, national survey data, 1976.
110. The percentage increase ranged from 3.4 to 50. State
Advisory Committee Case Study, Characteristic Profile
112. Data compiled from case study factsheets for each
113. Minneapolis, Minn., Case Study, p. 11.
1ia. Ibid., p. 14.
115. Ibid., p. 15.
116. Ossining, N.Y. , Case Study, p. 5; Case Study Factsheet:
117. Ossining Case Study, p. 6.
118. Erie, Pa., Case Study, p. 6.
119. Ibid., p. 29.
120. Case Study Factsheet: Ogden, Utah.
121. Ogden, Utah, Case Study, pp. 6-7.
122. U.S., Commission on Civil Rights, Staff Report,
Hillsborough County School Desegregation (March 1976) , pp.
105, 107, 108.
12U. Ibid., pp. 110-12.
125. Tampa transcript, testimony of Wayne Hull, assistant
superintendent for business and research, Hillsborough
County School District, pp. 359-60.
126. Ibid., p. 361. The land area of Hillsborough County is
approximately 1,040 square miles.
127. Ibid., testimony of Janet M. Middlebrooks, PTA
president, p. 654.
128. Louisville transcript, testimony of Tuwana Roberts, p.
129. Egerton, Report Card from the South , p. 22.
130. For example, see Denver transcript, testimony of Laura
Hendee, vice principal, Merrill Junior High School, p. 412;
Louisville transcript, testimony of Barbara Cummings,
teacher, Crosby Middle School, p. 636.
131. For example, see Denver transcript, testimony of Ramona
McHenry, teacher, Merrill Junior High School, p. 401, and
testimony of Teresa Torres, teacher. Baker Junior High
School, p. 371.
132. For example, see Tampa transcript, testimony of Ishmael
Martinez, teacher, H. B. Plant High School, p. 547.
133. See Nancy St. John, School Pes egr egati on Outcomes for
Children (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1975), p. 36; Meyer
Weinberg, "The Relationship Between School Desegregation and
Academic Achievement: A Review of the Research," Law and
ContemporaiT Problems , vol. 39, no. 2 (Spring 1975), pp.
13U. Weinberg, "Relationship Between School Desegregation
and Academic Achievement," p. 269.
135. Williamsburg, S.C., Case Study, and Egerton, Report
Card from the South, pp. 21-2U.
136. Berkeley transcript, testimony of Arthur Dambacher, pp.
137. Minneapolis transcript, testimony of W. Harry Davis,
director, Minneapolis School Board, pp. 329, 33 0.
138. Berkeley transcript, testimony of Arthur Dambacher, pp.
139. Of the 29 districts investigated, 17 have instituted
ethnic studies or multicultural programs.
1U0. Minneapolis transcript, testimony of Mike O'Donnell,
teacher. Wilder School, p. 620.
141. Tampa transcript, testimony of Kenneth Otero, teacher,
H.B. Plant Senior High School, p. 555".
142. School systems in Massachusetts are required by the
Transitional Bilingual Education Act of 1972 to provide
bilingual instruction if the number of any one language
group exceeds 20 students in each system. In Boston, 187
teachers are employed to teach children whose native
languages are Spanish, French, Chinese, Greek, Portuguese,
and Italian. Boston School Department, Bilingual Programs,
Boston Public Schools, Mar. 1, 1975. M.G.L.A. c. 71A, §2.
1U3. Tampa transcript, testimony of Norma Labato,
coordinator, bilingual education, Hillsborough County Public
Schools, pp. 917-34.
^HH, The Indochinese Migration Refugee Assistance Act of
1975, Public Law 94-23 et seq . (May 23, 1975) , made this
program available in January 1976.
14 5. Denver transcript, testimony of Albert Aguayo,
bilingual program supervisor, Denver Public Schools, pp.
146. U.S., Commission on Civil Rights, A Better Chance to
Learn; Bilinqual - Bicultural Education (1975) (hereafter
cited as Better Chance to Learn) .
147. Berkeley transcript, testimony of Gene Roh, school
board member, Berkeley Independent School District, p. A-71.
148. Better Chance to Learn , pp. 29-30, 86-87.
149. Denver transcript, testimony of Roscoe Davidson,
associate superintendent, Denver Public Schools, p. 573.
150. Tampa transcript, testimony of Frank Farmer, assistant
superintendent, Hillsborough County Schools, p. 297.
151. James D. Ward, Denver, Colo., staff interview, Dec. 4,
152. The Emergency School Aid Act (ESAA) 20 U.S.C. §1601 et
seq . (Supp. IV 1974) is designed to "encourage the
voluntary elimination, reduction, or prevention of minority
group isolation in elementary and secondary schools with
substantial proportions of minority group students, and to
aid school children in overcoming the educational
disadvantages of minority group isolation." 20 U.S.C.
§1601 (G) (Supp. IV 1974).
153. Long Day* s Journey , p. 361.
154. Ibid., p. 362.
155. Denver transcript, testimony of Laura Hendee, vice
principal, Merrill Junior High School, Denver Public
Schools, pp. 404-05.
156. Of the 29 case study districts, 10 established magnet
schools. SAC Case Study Analysis , 1976.
157. Nell Sweeney, Brown Instructional Center, Louisville,
Ky., staff interview, July 9, 1976.
158. Milburn Maupin, deputy superintendent. Federal Programs
and Human Relations, Jefferson County Public Schools, staff
interview. Mar. 1, 1976.
159. J. C. Cantrell, assistant superintendent of
instruction, Louisville, Ky., staff interview, July 9, 1976.
160. Morgan v. Kerrigan, civil action. No. 72-9 11-g. Phase
II Plan, pp. 11-42.
161. Morgan v. Kerrigan, Draft Revisions of Masters' Report
(Apr. 17, 1975), Phase II Plan, p. 50.
162. U.S., Commission on Civil Rights, staff report. School
Desegregation in Boston , (1975) (hereafter cited as School
Desegregation in Boston ) .
163. Tulsa, Okla. , Case Study, p. 59.
16U. Ibid., p. 60.
166. Gordon Foster, "Desegregating Urban Schools: A Review
of Techniques," Harvard Educational Review , vol. 4 3, no. 1
(February 1973), p. 19.
167. SAC Case Study Analysis . Title IV of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, Section 403, provides funds for such training.
The Commissioner is authorized, upon application of a school
board, to make grants to such board to pay, in whole or in
part, the cost of: (1) giving to teachers and other school
personnel inservice training in dealing with problems
incident to desegregation, and (2) employing specialists to
advise in problems incident to desegregation. For a review
of Title IV see U.S., Commission on Civil Rights, Title IV
and School Desegregation, A Study of a Neglected Federal
Program (1973) .
168. Minneapolis, Minn., Case Study, pp. 15-16.
169. Berkeley, Calif., Case Study, p. 13-11.
170. Keyes v. School District No. 1, 413 U.S. 192 (1973) and
Evie Dennis, community specialist, Denver, Colo., staff
interview, Dec. 15, 1975.
171. Robert Wynkoop, staff advisory specialist, Jefferson
County Public Schools, interview. Mar. 3, 1976.
172. Louisville transcript, testimony of Ernest Grayson,
superintendent, Jefferson County Public Schools, p. 7U5.
173. James Coleman, associate superintendent for community
development, Jefferson County Public Schools, interview,
March 3, 1976.
17a. Louisville transcript, testimony of Scott Horan,
intergroup and community relations specialist; and Fannie
Gul, human relations coordinator, pp. 502-13.
175. SAC Case Study Analysis , 1976.
176. Louisville transcript, testimony of W. Carlyle Maupin,
177. Tampa transcript, testimony of Frank Farmer, assistant
superintendent of instruction, Hillsborough County Schools,
p. 30U; Dora L. Reeder, principal, and Arthur Flemming,
teacher, Dunbar Elementary School, pp. 650-53.
178. Kalamazoo, Mich., Case Study, pp. 12-13.
179. Denver transcript, testimony of Ramona McHenry,
teacher, Merrill Junior High School, p. U21.
180. Ibid., testimony of Bettye Emmerson, pp. 676-79.
181. Tampa transcript, testimony of Patricia Wingo, H. B.
Plant High School, p. 562.
182. Ibid., pp. 307-08.
183. Denver transcript, testimony of James Ward, principal.
Manual High School, p. 815.
18U. Ibid., testimony of William Corker, pp. 793-9U.
185. Berkeley transcript, testimony of Donna McKinney, pp.
186. Tampa transcript, p. 218.
187. Thelma Shuman, interview, Tampa, Fla. , Feb. 27, 1976.
188. Tampa transcript, testimony of Katie Keene, p. 223.
189. Nancy H. St. John, School Desegregation; Outcomes for
Children (New York, N.Y.: Wiley, 1974), pp. 125-26.
190. Stamford transcript, testimony of John Brown, director
of Stamford's community action program, p. 161.
191. Berkeley transcript, testimony of Beatrice Terreira,
principal, Martin Luther King Junior High School, p. A-207.
192. Better Chance to Learn , p. 39.
194. Boston transcript, testimony of Paul Parks, secretary
of education. Office of the Governor, p. 42.
195. Stamford transcript, testimony of Michael Palmer,
student. West Hill High School, pp. 222-23.
196. Edgar G. Epps, "The Impact of School Desegregation on
Aspirations, Self -Concepts, and Other Aspects of
Personality," Law and Contemporary Problems, vol. 39, no. 2
(1975) , p. 311.
197. Stamford transcript, pp. 175-76.
198. Berkeley transcript, testimony of Jesse Anthony, music
teacher, pp. B-50-51.
199. St. John, Outcomes for Children , p. 108.
200. Providence, R.I., Case Study, p. 18.
201. Egerton, Promise of Progress , p. 7.
203. Keyes v. School District No. 1, 413 U.S. 192 (1973).
204. Denver transcript, testimony of Bettye J. Emerson, p.
672; Letter to the President of the United States, Apr. 21,
1971, signed by representatives of 13 Denver-based Hispanic
organizations (Commission files) .
205. Denver Superintendent's Report to the Honorable William
E. Doyle, Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, required by the
April 17, 197U, Final Judgment and Decree, Civil Action No.
C-1U99, Court Order No. 19-1.
206. Morgan v. Hennigan, 379 F. Supp. 410, U72 (D. Mass.
197U) , aff'd sub nom. Morgan v. Kerrigan, 502 F.2d 58 (1st
Cir. 1974) cert denied 44 L.W. 3713 (June 15, 1976).
207. School Desegregation in Boston , p. 15.
2 08. Ibid, appendix C.
210. Berkeley transcript, testimony of Carol Sibley, p. A-
212. Berkeley, Calif., Case Study, pp. 2, 15.
213. Walter Alexander Mercer, Humanizing the Desegregated
School (New York: Vantage Press, 1973), p. 22.
214. See for example, Arthur O. White, "Florida's State
School Chief and Desegregation," Integra teducat ion (1974) p.
215. Mercer, Humanizing the Desegregated School , p. 22.
216. Leon Hall, "School Desegregation: A (Hollow?) Victory,"
Inequality in Education , no. 17 (1974) , p. 7.
217. 419 F.2d 1211, at 1218 (5th Cir. 1970). Similar
standards are used by HEW in determining Title VI and
Emergency School Aid Act regulations, 40 Fed. Reg. 25171,
June 12, 1975.
218. Mannings v. Board of Public Instruction of Hillsborough
county, Florida, No. 3554 Civ. T-K (M.D. Fla. May 11, 1971).
This order contains a history of the case from its beginning
in December 19 58.
219. Data provided by the Office of Pupil Administrative
Services. Report on Racial Breakdown of Pupils and Staff,
submitted annually to the Honorable Bejamin Krentzman, U.S.
222. Diminishing Barrier , p. 13.
223. Rodney C. Colson, assistant superintendent,
Hillsborough County Schools, staff interview, Feb. 12, 1976.
225. Egerton, Report Card from the South, p. 35.
227. Roger Mills and Miriam Bryan, Testing — Grouping; The
New Segregation in Southern Schools (Atlanta, Ga.: Southern
Regional Council, 1976), pp. 45-46. They have defined
"racially identifiable classroom" as one in which the racial
composition of the class varies more than 2 percent from
the racial composition of the grade at the school.
228. Winifred Green, "Separate and Unequal Again,"
Ineguality in Education , July 1973, p. 15.
229. Mills and Bryan, Testing — Grouping , p. 46.
230. U.S., Commission on Civil Rights, Toward Quality
Education For Mexican Americans (1974) , p. 23 (hereafter
cited as Toward Quality Education ) .
231. Warren G. Findley and Miriam M. Bryan, Ability
Grouping: 1970 (Athens, Ga. : University of Georgia, Center
for Educational Improvement, 1970) , p. 3. Also, see Toward
Quality Education , p. 24. Gary Orfield, "How to Make
Desegregation Work: The Adaptation of Schools to Their
Newly- Integrated Student Bodies," Law and Contemporary
Problems , vol. 39, (Spring 1975), pp. 327-28.
232. Toward Quality Education , p. 25.
233. National Education Association, "Ability Grouping:
Teacher Opinion Poll," NEA Journal , vol. 57 (February 1968) ,
23U. Stamford transcript, testimony of Robert Kelley, p.
23 5. Stamford transcript, testimony of Michael Steadman, p.
236. Earl Ogletree and Velma E. Ujlaki, "The Effects of
Ability Grouping on Inner City Children," Illinois Schools
Journal , vol. 50 (1970), pp. 63-70. See also Leon J.
Lefkowitz, "Ability Grouping: De Facto Segregation," The
Clearing House , vol. U6, no. 5 (January 1972) , pp. 293-97,
and Findley and Bryan, Ability Grouping; 1970 , pp. 31-3 8.
237. Stamford transcript, testimony of Michael Palmer, pp.
238. see, e.g. Lemon v. Bossier Parish School Board, I^U
F.2d 1400 (5th Cir. 1971) ; United States v. Sunflower County
School District, 430 F.2d 839, 841 (5th Cir.), cert, denied,
398 U.S. 951 (1970) .
239. see, e.g., Moses v. Washington Parish School Board, 456
F. 2d 1285 (5th Cir.) cert, denied, 409 U.S. 1013 (1972).
240. See, e.g., Acree v. County Board of Education, 458 F.
2d 486, 488, no. 3 (5th Cir.) cert, denied, 409 U.S. 1006
241. Tampa transcript, testimony of Raymond Shelton,
superintendent, Hillsborough County Public Schools, p. 306.
242. Denver transcript, testimony of Roscoe Davidson,
associate superintendent for elementary education, Denver
Public Schools, p. 574.
243. Dorchester County, Md. , Case study, pp. 23-24.
24a. Testimony of principal. Smiley Junior High School,
Denver transcript, p. 433.
245. Toward Quality Education , p. 21.
246. Tampa transcript, testimony of Frank Farmer, assistant
superintendent of instruction, p. 304.
247. EMR usually means mildly retarded, where a student is
between two and three standard deviations below the norm;
that is, having an IQ score between 50 and 70. Michael S.
Sorgen, "Testing and Tracking in the Public Schools,"
Hastings Law Journal , vol. 24 (1972-73), pp. 1168 and
Testimony of Mark Lohman, U.S., Senate, Hearings Before the
Select Committee on Equal Educational Opportunity, 9 2d
Cong., 1st Sess. , p. 10170.
248. Toward Quality Education , p. 29.
249. Jane Mercer, Labelling the Mentally Retarded (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1973) , p. 189.
250. Toward Quality Education, p. 28.
251. Ibid., pp. 59.
252. Tampa transcript, testimony of Helen Wilds, pp. 617-22.
253. Robert Wynkoop, staff advisory specialist for
desegregation, Jefferson County Public Schools, interview.
Mar. 3, 1976. See also Louisville transcript, testimony of
Joel Henning, assistant superintendent for institutional
organization, pp. 693-95, 702-03.
254. Louisville transcript, testimony of Joel Henning, pp.
255. For a discussion of court cases see "School
Desegregation Litigation in the Seventies and the Use of
Social Science Evidence: An Annotated Guide," Law and
Contemporary Problems , vol. 39, no. 1 (Winter 1975), pp. 50-
256. 343 F. Supp. 1306 (N.D. Cal. 1972).
257. Civ. No. C-70-37 R.F.R. (N.D. Cal. June 18, 1973).
258. Long Day's Journey , p. 351.
259. Ibid., p. U20.
260. Tampa transcript, testimony of Debra Goldsmith,
student, Brandon High School, p. 570.
261. Denver transcript, testimony of Vernon Owens, p. 890.
262. Louisville transcript, testimony of Tuwana Roberts,
student. Central High School, p. 619.
263. Tampa transcript, testimony of Dora Feeder, dean of
girls, Dunbar Elementary School, p. 662.
26U. Little Rock, Ark., Case Study, p. U5.
26 5. Tampa transcript, pp. 533-35.
266. Ibid., testimony of Debra Goldsmith, student, Brandon
High School, p. 571.
268. Boston transcript, testimony of Joseph Day, teacher and
coach, p. 285.
269. Tulsa, Okla. , Case Study, p. 53.
270. Tampa transcript, testimony of Thelma Shuman, p. 53U.
271. Tampa transcript, testimony of Ralph Fisher, dean of
boys, Monroe Junior High School, pp. 600-01.
272. U.S., Commission on Civil Rights, national survey data,
1976. Data compiled from approximately 500 desegregated
273. Denver transcript, testimony of Chris Sturgis, student.
Manual High School, p. 820.
27U. Ten Communities , p. 67.
276. Boston transcript, testimony of Jan Douglas, student,
Jeremiah E. Burke High School, p. 332.
277. Egerton, Report Card from the South , p. 11.
278. Tampa transcript, testimony of Graig Allen, student,
Dowdell Junior High School, p. 77t».
279. Ibid., testimony of Aileen Miller, student, Greco
Junior High School, p. 773.
280. Ibid. , testimony of Janet M. Middlebrooks, PTA
president, p. 654.
281. Stamford transcript, testimony of Bruce Spain, student.
West Hill High school, pp. 229-230.
282. Minneapolis transcript, testimony of George Sell,
student, Minneapolis Central High School, p. 824.
283. Stamford transcript, testimony of Michael Palmer,
student. West High School, p. 232.
28U. Louisville transcript, testimony of Terry McAnnally,
student, Thomas Jefferson High School, p. 29.
285. U.S., Commission on Civil Rights, prehearing
interviews, Hillsborough County, Fla.
286. Denver transcript, testimony of Chris Sturgis, student.
Manual High School, pp. 826-27.
287. Hall, "Hollow Victory," p. 12.
288. Ten Communities , p. 18.
289. Springfield, Mass., Case Study, p. 11.
290. Denver transcript, testimony of LaRue Belcher,
principal, Thomas Jefferson High School, p. 8U3; testimony
of Bryan Tooley, student, Morey Junior High School, p. 468.
291. Ibid., testimony of the Reverend Richard S. Kerr,
director. People Let's Unite for Schools (PLUS), p. 111.
292. Ibid., testimony of James Ward, principal. Manual High
School, p. 792.
293. Ibid., p. 791.
29U. Minneapolis transcript, testimony of George Sell,
student, Minneapolis Central High School, p. 806.
295. Berkeley transcript, testimony of Ramona Maples,
associate director of research and evaluation, Berkeley
School District, p. A-89.
296. Denver transcript, testimony of Deborah Wheeler,
student. Manual High School, p. 833.
297. Ibid., testimony of Ruth C. Johns, teacher, Moore
Elementary School, p. 966.
298. Tampa transcript, testimony of Harold Clark, area
general director, p. 393. Student advisory committees are
established pursuant to ESAA regulations.
299. Egerton, Report Card from the South , p. UO.
300. Ten Communities , p. 107.
301. Denver transcript, testimony of Harold Scott,
principal. Smiley Junior High School, p. 436.
302. Bogalusa, La., Case Study, p. 40.
303. Ibid., pp. U1, t»3.
30a. Ibid., p. 43.
305. Denver transcript, testimony of Cynthia McLelland,
student, John F. Kennedy High School, p. 896.
306. U.S., Department of Health, Education, and Welfare,
Factsheet, Student Discipline, September 1975.
307. See, for example. Southern Regional Council and Robert
F. Kennedy Memorial, The Student Pushout — Victim of
Continued Resistance to Desegregation (Atlanta: 1973)
(hereafter cited as The Student Pushout ) ; Children's Defense
Fund, School Suspensions; Are They Helping Children?
(Washington, D.C. : 1975) (hereafter cited as School
Suspensions) ; Children's Defense Fund, Children Out of
School in America (Washington, D.C: 1974) (hereafter cited
as Children Out of School) .
308. Mark G. Yodof, "Suspensions and Expulsion of Black
Students from the Public Schools: Academic Capital
Punishment and the Constitution," Law and Contemporary
Problems , (Spring 1975), no. 2, p. 379.
309. The Student Pushout, pp. 12-16.
310. Paul R. Wharton, assistant superintendent, Hillsborough
County Public Schools, inter-office communication to
secondary principals, on suspensions, Jan. 19, 1976, and
Egerton, Report Card from the South, p. 36.
311. Tampa transcript, testimony of Paul R. Wharton,
assistant superintendent, Hillsborough County Schools,
312. Southern Report Card from the South, p. 36.
313. The Code of Federal Regulations, Title 45 (Public
Welfare) discrimination against children, states that a
school district is not eligible for assistance under the
Emergency School Aid Act if it has a procedure which results
in discrimination, including disciplinary sanctions which
discriminate against minority-group children.
31U. Gilbert D. Roman, Director, Office for Civil Rights,
HEW, letter to Louis J. Kishkunas, superintendent, Denver
School District No. 1, July 13, 1975.
315. Denver transcript, testimony of James E. Esquibil, p.
316. U.S., Commission on Civil Rights, prehearing
interviews, Louisville, Ky.
317. Louisville Times, Apr. 6, 1976, "Did Laxity in City
High Schools Contribute to Suspensions," pp. A-1, A-8.
318. Ibid. Arthur Draut, principal, Waggener High School
with 61.8 suspensions for every 100 black students.
319. Ibid. Dr. Irvin Rice, principal. West Point High
School with 81.2 suspensions for every 100 black students.
320. Ibid. Principal, name withheld by request.
321. Ibid. r Joseph McPherson, principal. Central High
School, 13.6 suspensions for every 100 black students.
322. Berkeley transcript, p. A-99.
323. Long Day* s Journey , p. 388.
32a. Ibid., p. 390.
325. Ibid., p. 401-2.
326. William H. Thomas, Director, Office for Civil Rights
(Region IV) , HEW, letter to Dr. Brandon Sparkman,
superintendent, Richland County School District No. 1, Aug.
14, 1975; also HEW internal report on Student Discipline
327. Tampa transcript, testimony of Augusta Thomas,
director, Tampa Urban League, p. 801.
328. Long Day* s Journey, p. 379.
329. Remarks of Blanche Cooper, director of community
development, Jefferson County Public Schools, at the
National Conference on Desegregation Without Turmoil, May
19, 1976, Washington, D.C. Ms. Cooper was a panelist in a
workshop. Influencing Student Disciplinary Procedures in a
330. U.S., Department of Health, Education, and Welfare,
Office for Civil Rights, internal files.
331. Long Day* s Journey, p. 397.
332. See, 327 F. Supp. 930 (S.D. Fla. 1971) ; Law and
Contempora ry Problems, vol. 39, no. 2, p. 397.
334. The Student Pushout, p. 4. Roughly 9.1 percent of
blacks, 6.4 percent of Chicanos, and 4.9 percent of Anglos
were suspended. Note: Sources quoted refer to expulsions
rather than suspensions which is an apparent error.
335. Law and Contemporary Problems , vol. 39, no. 2, pp. 401-
03; Hawkins v. Coleman, 376 F. Supp. 1330 (N.D. Tex. 1974).
336. William H. Thomas, Director, Office for Civil Rights
(Region IV) HEW, letter to Brandon Sparkman, superintendent,
Richland County School District No. 1, Aug. 14, 1975; also
HEW internal report on Student Discipline Actions.
337. Law and Contemporary Problems , vol. 39, no. 2, p. 386.
338. Ibid., p. 386.
3U0. Tampa transcript, testimony of Joanna Jones, Project
Youth director, Tampa Urban League, and member of the
biracial advisory committee, p. 788.
341. U.S., Department of Health, Education, and Welfare,
Office for Civil Rights, internal report on Student
342. Louisville Times, Apr. 6, 1976, p. A-98.
343. Berkeley transcript, testimony of Astor Mizuhard,
principal of Franklin Intermediate, p. A- 197-8.
344. Denver transcript, p. 859.
345. Tampa transcript, testimony of Richard Rodd, chairman,
biracial advisory committee, p. 445.
346. See, A Report of Student Suspensions in Selected High
Schools of Jefferson County Public Schools to the Honorable
James T. Gordon, Senior Judge, United States District Court,
from E. C. Grayson, superintendent, Apr. 28, 1976.
347. U.S., Department of Health, Education and Welfare,
Office for Civil Rights, Martin H. Gerry, Acting Director,
Memorandum for Chief State School Officers, "Recordkeeping
on Student Actions in School Districts," August 1975, rev.
348. Louisville transcript, testimony of Camellia Brown,
chairperson, Louisville-Jefferson County Students Defense
report, p. 578.
IV. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
At the end of what has been an exciting experience for
the members of the Commission, there is one conclusion that
stands out above all others: desegregation works. It is
working in Hillsborough County, Florida; and Tacoma,
Washington; Stamford, Connecticut; and Williamsburg County,
South Carolina; Minneapolis and Denver, and in many other
school districts where citizens feel that compliance with
the law is in the best interests of their children and their
communities. It is even working in the vast majority of
schools in Boston and Louisville in spite of the
determination of some citizens and their leaders to thwart
its progress. The efforts of law-abiding citizens in these
and other desegregating districts are not well-known,
although they are more representative of the total
desegregation experience than the more publicized resistance
To be sure, none of these districts is without its
problems; for some, the road ahead may be as difficult as
the ground already covered. Beliefs and practices nurtured
in decades of slavery and inequality do not die easily. But
these communities have learned that through positive,
forceful leadership and careful planning by a broad cross-
section of the commxinity, school desegregation can be
The support given by local leaders in implementing
desegregation peacefully generally results in beneficial
byproducts. School officials throughout the country have
noted that institutional renewal frequently accompanies the
desegregation process. The educational program is reviewed
and revamped to include new instructional techniques and
materials, to provide for the needs of language-minority
students, to develop programs to assist gifted children and
those achieving below their potential, and to promote racial
and ethnic harmony among faculty and students. In addition,
community race relations and the level of parental
participation in school activities usually improve during
the course of desegregation. School districts which have
experienced desegregation for several years generally report
that minority student achievement rises and that these
students often exhibit greater motivation that ultimately
leads to pursuit of higher education. Majority group
students hold their own academically and they commonly
report that experiences with minority students have
dispelled long-held stereotypes.
While many school districts have implemented
desegregation plans, numerous others remain segregated.
Preliminary data for 197^ from the Office for Civil Rights
of HEW reveal that in districts sampled each year from 1970
to 1974, 4 of every 10 black students and 3 of 10 Hispano
students attended schools at least 90 percent minority.
There were wide regional variations: those schools enrolled
23 percent of the black students in the South, 58 percent of
black students in Border and Northeastern States, 62 percent
in the Midwest, and 45 percent in the West.*
Segregation remains a problem, particularly in large
districts. A recent analysis of school districts 20 to 4
percent black shows that large districts across the country
tend to be more segregated than small ones. Virtually no
blacks in very small districts (less than 2,000 students)
were in schools where minorities represented more than 50
percent of the enrollment. On the other hand, in school
districts with more than 100,000 students, 3 of every 5
black students in northern schools and 2 of every 5 black
students in southern schools attended schools with an
enrollment greater than 50 percent minority. Furthermore,
30 percent of the black students in these northern districts
and 15 percent in the southern districts attended schools
that were over 90 percent minority. 2 (see table 4.1)
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On balance, however, this report makes it clear that
substantial progress is being made in the desegregation of
our schools. If the Nation is to build on this progress,
there are certain "musts" that the Commission believes need
to be kept in mind.
1. Leaders at the national. State, and local levels
must accept the fact that desegregation of the Nation's
schools is a constitutional imperative.
The peaceful implementation of desegregation is not by
chance. Luck plays no part in determining the degree of
disruption that a desegregating school district experiences.
One of the most important conclusions of this report is that
the support of school officials and other local leaders
strongly influences the outcomes of desegregation. The
public generally follows the lead of officials who are
responsible for school desegregation. Commitment and firm
support from these officials encourage law-abiding citizens
to make desegregation work. Under this type of leadership,
even opponents of school desegregation conform to the
standards of behavior exemplified by their leaders, thus
ensuring tranquility and a peaceful learning environment for
their children. Officials who are committed to
desegregation and act decisively to ensure peaceful
inplementation are likely to be rewarded with a relatively
smooth, peaceful transition.
Leaders who are committed to ensuring that
desegregation works will solicit involvement of the
community at various stages of the process, from planning
through implementation and monitoring. When the conununity
is involved in planning, it is committed to the outcome.
During planning and implementation, for example, citizens
may operate rumor control and information centers or work at
their children's schools. Through a variety of actions,
their frustrations and anxieties are channelled into
productive activity; as they learn about the school
desegregation plan, they are reassured, and, in turn, can
inform and allay fears of the rest of the community.
Disruptions are minimized.
Conversely, when school administrators and other public
officials are opposed to school desegregation and attempt to
appease opponents, the voices of resisters often are
stronger than constitutional imperatives. Taking their cue
from their leaders, citizens who would ordinarily comply are
encouraged to resist. Supporters of desegregation are
discouraged from taking a public stand. The result is
turmoil and confusion and sometimes violence. The
occurrence of disruption is basically a self-fulfilling
prophecy. If local officials and leaders believe disruption
will occur and do nothing to prevent it, it is much more
likely to occur.
A peaceful transition from segregation to desegregation
is not the end but only the beginning. Successful
desegregation requires continued monitoring, evaluation, and
periodic review and sometimes revision of the original plan.
School officials and community people must deal with certain
"second generation" problems that may jeopardize the goal of
desegregation. These problems include classroom
segregation, inequitable disciplinary procedures, low
minority participation in extracurricular activities, lack
of minority representation on administrative and teaching
staffs, and the absence of multicultural, bilingual
education for language-minority students.
These problems are not inherent in the school
desegregation process. Where they do occur, they result
from lack of foresight, planning, and evaluation on the part
of school officials and the community. But where school
officials act affirmatively to promote successful
desegregation, these problems are less likely to result.
This action should take place continuously once the
desegregation plan in put into effect. Efforts to upgrade
the curriculum and to hire minority staff, for example, must
continue far beyond the original pupil assignment plan.
When desegregation is seen in this way — as a process — school
officials can continue to provide all students a better
School officials and other local leaders are dependent
on the tone set by leaders at the national level. This tone
is determined not only by the statements officials make
about the desirability of desegregation, but also by the
support they give, or fail to give, to court decisions
designed to implement the constitutional rights of children
and young people. Under our system of government, in the
absence of action by the executive or legislative branches,
the courts when faced with the issue must determine what
steps should be taken to ensure that the constitutional
right to equal educational opportunity is provided. The
Commission believes, for constitutional reasons, that
efforts by either the executive or the legislative branches
to curb the power of the courts, in the final analysis, will
not prevail. Such efforts undermine the desegregation
process and jeopardize the rights of minority students.
Furthermore, these attempts contribute to the position of
some individuals that desegregation can be avoided.
This Commission, therefore, takes issue with the
President and those Members of Congress who seek to curb the
role of the courts. The President's recent submission of
the School Desegregation Standards and Assistance Act of
1976 falls within this category. This bill seeks both to
narrow the definition of illegal segregation and to restrict
the scope of remedies available to the courts,
2. The Federal Government must strengthen and expand
programs designed to facilitate the school desegregation
For example. Congress should increase the funding and
authority, under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1961,
of General Assistance Centers providing technical assistance
and human relations training for desegregating school
districts. 3 Additional funding should be made available
under the Emergency School Aid Act of 1972 for curriculum
development and teacher training in desegregating school
systems.* Congress should provide funds to assist in the
construction of new schools and additions to existing ones
when such construction will maxinjize desegregation and
lessen the need to increase student transportation for
desegregation. Also, Congress should rescind its
prohibition against the use of Federal financial assistance
for student transportation for desegregation.
3. There must be vigorous enforcement of laws which
contribute to the development of desegregated communities.
The President and the Congress should make a concerted
effort to provide the authority and resources necessary for
facilitating metropolitan residential desegregation and
thereby maximize school desegregation. Each State receiving
Federal housing and community development grants should be
required to establish a metropolitan agency with authority
to plan and implement a program for metropolitan housing
development, including provision of adequate, moderate- and
low- income housing throughout the metropolitan area and
various services to assist minority families to secure
housing outside central cities. A special tax incentive
should be granted to families who select housing in areas
where residents are predominantly of another race or ethnic
group. The Congress should strengthen the enforcement of
Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 by authorizing
the Department of Housing and Urban Development to issue
cease-and-desist orders to end discriminatory housing
In addition, the Department of Housing and Urban
Development should assign the highest priority to
enforcement of fair housing laws, including an expanded
Title VIII compliance review program. Such a program would
require development of affirmative housing opportunities
plans, providing for review and revision of local zoning
ordinances, building codes, land use policies, real estate
practices, and rental policies that prohibit or discourage
housing opportunities for minorities.
fi, A major investment of time and resources must be
made in order to deal with misconception s relative to
Many of these misconceptions grow out of
misunderstanding of what is constitutionally required. One
of the most popular misconceptions is the view that
segregation in the North and West arises from "natural
causes" in contrast to the "separate" schools imposed by law
in 17 Southern and Border States prior to 19 5t. The Supreme
Court of the United States expressly spoke to such State-
required separation, termed de jure in the Brown decision of
195U. In other sections of the country, however,
segregation (often flourishing without mandatory or
permissive statutes) was termed de facto, meaning that it
arose without official action or acquiescence and therefore
was not a constitutional violation.
It is incorrect to say, however, that in the absence of
a State law requiring segregation, any existing segregation
is de facto. Federal courts have ordered desegregation in
northern and western jurisdictions only when faced with
evidence showing that local or State school officials have
deliberately used their powers to foster segregated schools,
often despite State law to the contrary. It is this abuse
of the State's authority, vested in local school boards or
State education agencies, which is the essence of the
difference between de facto and de jure segregation. It is
the culpability of these officials in causing or
intensifying segregation at the door of the State, and it is
this "State action" which fornvs the basis for finding a
constitutional violation. Such State action is not de
facto, but is actually another form of de jure segregation,
and thus, under current constitutional law, a proper matter
for Federal judicial intervention. The desegregation of
schools is necessary to eliminate the current effects of
these unlawful acts of State or local officials who have
used their powers to cause and maintain separation of
children of different races or ethnic backgrounds in public
schools. Some of the methods used by local or State school
1. Authorizing the construction of new schools in places
where the resulting "neighborhood" attendance area will be
predominantly uniracial despite the availability of other
sites that would be available to students of different
2. Gerrymandering school attendance zones in a manner
designed to maintain segregated schools by following racial
shifts in population.
3. Changing the total enrollment of existing schools
through the use of portable classrooms, permanent building
additions, or double sessions in order to accommodate
changes in the population of one race or ethnic group.
U. Utilizing racially-oriented feeder patterns instead of
neutral geographic boundaries to determine the succession of
schools a child will attend throughout that child's public
The Supreme Court, in deciding its first northern
school desegregation case, found that intentional actions of
School District No. 1, Denver, Colorado, had resulted in
...respondent School Board alone, by use of
various techniques such as manipulation of student
attendance zones, school site selection and a
neighborhood school policy, created or maintained
racially or ethnically (or both racially and
ethnically) segregated schools throughout the
school district. .. .5
In Detroit, Michigan, a similar finding of de jure
segregation was based upon unconstitutional practices of the
Detroit school board. Although the Supreme Court overturned
the interdistrict remedy ordered by the district court and
affirmed by the appellate court, it affirmed the finding of
de j ure segregation and cited the following as illegal
(1) creating and maintaining optional attendance
zones within Detroit neighborhoods undergoing
racial transition and between high attendance
areas of opposite predominant racial compositions;
(2) drawing school attendance zones along
directional lines which had a segregative effect;
(3) operating a school transportation program,
designed to relieve overcrowding, in a manner that
increased and perpetuated segregation; and
(I) siting and constructing schools in a manner
that tended to have segregative effect. •
As shovm in Detroit, Denver, and other nonsouthern
school districts, the claim that segregation arises from
natural causes and is thus beyond the purview of the courts
frequently fails to withstand close scrutiny.
Another misconception grows out of the constant use of
the phrase, "forced busing to achieve racial balance." This
has been used so often that few stop to consider its
Courts have not forced students to ride buses. Courts
have required that boards of education reassign students to
schools so as to eliminate dual education systems. Buses
are a convenience made available to 7 percent of the
students who are so reassigned, just as they are a
convenience to the remaining 93 percent of the students who
use them for purposes other than desegregation.
Most Americans, if asked whether the courts require
racial balance of schools in districts found to have
practiced de jure segregation, would probably respond
affirmatively. This perception, therefore, has become
another of the misconceptions that preoccupies the public
and draws attention from other more important issues.
The truth is that school districts, acting on their own
initiative or under a voluntary plan, may determine that the
racial composition of each school should mirror the racial
composition of the system as a whole. Thus, they may devise
and implement racial balance plans, but they are not
required to do so. The Supreme Court in Swann v. Charlotte -
Mecklenburg Board of Education addressed this issue, saying:
School authorities are traditionally charged with
broad power to formulate and implement educational
policy and might well conclude, for example, that
in order to prepare students to live in a
pluralistic society each school should have a
prescribed ratio of Negro to white students
reflecting the proportion for the district as a
whole. To do this as an educational policy is
within the broad discretionary powers of school
In providing a remedy for unlawful segregation, there
is no constitutional or statutory requirement that all
schools in a district be racially balanced. Courts may not
and do not require racial balance in an imposed
desegregation plan. when there has been a findng of de jure
segregation, the constitutional requirement is that school
districts eliminate the racial identity of schools in a dual
school system. Should a school district fail to remedy
illegal segregation, a Federal court may issue orders to
abolish such duality. Speaking again for a unanimous Court,
the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court said:
The constitutional command to desegregate schools
does not mean that every school in every community
must always reflect the racial composition of the
school system as a whole....®
What purpose was served by the use of racial ratios? The
We see, therefore, that the use made of
mathematical ratios was no more than a starting
point in the process of shaping a remedy, rather
than an inflexible requirement. .. .As we said in
Green , a school authority's remedial plan or a
district court's remedial decree is to be judged
by its effectiveness. Awareness of the racial
composition of the whole school system is likely
to be a useful starting point in shaping a remedy
to correct past constitutional violations.'
There is a mistaken belief that the courts have
required desegregation as a means to obtain what some refer
to as "quality" education. No court has made a connection
between these two concerns. Courts have required school
desegregation as a means of ensuring equality of educational
opportunity. Equality of educational opportunity implies,
moreover, that all children together will share — at the same
time, and in the same place--whatever quality of education
the State provides. Commission studies have shown, however,
that as a result of school desegregation, most school
district officials feel that there has been an improvement
in the quality of education for all school children.
Another misconception relates to the widely-held belief
that massive white flight results from school desegregation.
The isolation of minority students in central city districts
reflects the composition of the population in metropolitan
areas. For at least three decades, whites have been leaving
central cities for the suburbs. lo A great many factors have
contributed to this population shift: relocation of
employment in suburban areas, the desire for more living
space, higher incomes, as well as the vinfounded fear of
lowered property values as the minority population
increases. Real estate speculators, playing on the fears of
whites, have engaged in the practice of "blockbusting."**
The role that desegregation of schools plays in the movement
of whites to the suburbs is not clear. While certain school
districts have experienced a significant decline in white
enrollment, evidence does not support the widely-held belief
that urban school desegregation causes massive white flight
and the consequent resegregation of urban schools. 12 jt does
appear from the evidence, however, that policies and
practices of Federal, State, and local officials, as well as
those practices of the private sector, have contributed to
Regardless of the causes of white flight, it is not a
constitutionally permissible argument for denying students
equal protection of the laws. The courts have addressed
"White flight" is one expression of resistance to
integration, but the Supreme Court has held over
and over that courts must not permit community
hostility to intrude on the application of
constitutional principles. ...[ D]issidents who
threatened to leave the system may not be enticed
to stay by the promise of an unconstitutional
though palatable plan. * 3
The Supreme Court in United States v. Scotland Neck City
Board of Education said:
...while [white flight] may be cause for deep
concern to the [school board], it cannot... be
accepted as a reason for achieving anything less
than complete uprooting of the dual public school
The Commission is disturbed that these public
misconceptions have gained such wide credibility. More
serious is the increasing willingness of State and Federal
officials to jeopardize the constitutional rights of
minority children to equal educational opportunity.
It is clear that the story of the desegregation of the
schools of our Nation is an unfinished story. It is also
clear that in many respects it is an untold story. To date
the story has been told primarily by focusing on sensational
developments in some school districts where desegregation is
underway. Very little has been written about those aspects
of the story which involve a quiet acceptance of the
constitutional imperative by thousands of citizens in many
communities and their successes in implementing the truths
imbedded in the Constitution.
The late Branch Rickey, when he was in the middle of
the battle to open up professional baseball to blacks, urged
those who were ready to give up "to never accept the
negative until you have thoroughly explored the positive."
This report is designed to give the media, leaders in
and out of public life, and citizens, generally, the
opportunity to explore the positive and at the same time to
recognize the nature of the problems that must be solved if
desegregation is to succeed.
The Commission believes that a careful reading of the
experiences of communities included in this report will
convince the reader that we are moving forward as a Nation
in our determination to make the Constitution a living
reality in the lives of thousands of children and young
people. We believe that such a reading will replace despair
with hope for those individuals whose opportunities to
achieve their highest possibilities depend on our
willingness to do more than pay lipservice to the provisions
of the Constitution.
After weighing all the evidence in this report, the
Commission is convinced that those who are willing to make a
serious commitment to implementing the truths that are at
stake in the controversy surrounding desegregation are
meeting with success. Their success goes beyond simply
providing for the physical proximity that children of
different races and ethnicities enjoy in a desegregated
school. In the past 10 years, desegregated schools have
brought together more children of different races and ethnic
groups than at any time in the history of the Nation. The
opportunity they have, and others who come after them will
have, to understand, know, and appreciate each other,
provides the most important elements necessary to the
success of 200 years of efforts to provide for each American
the fact and not simply the promise of equality. We believe
that these successes can be duplicated throughout the
We recognize that some will differ with the conclusions
set forth in this report. We urge that these differences be
identified after and not before examining the evidence.
This report represents the most intensive effort to date to
bring together relevant evidence. If the national debate on
desegregation is based on this and other comparable
evidence, as contrasted with hasty generalizations drawn
from a few negative experiences, we have no doubt that the
Nation will once again demonstrate its ability to deal in a
constructive manner with a crisis growing out of the
inplementation of the Constitution of the United States.
Notes to Chapter IV
1. congressional Record, 9Uth Cong., 2d Sess., vol. 122,
no. 95, June 18, 1976, p. 9938. The districts surveyed
include approximately 92 percent of the Nation's black
students and 7U percent of the Nation's Hispano students.
Border States in the survey include the District of Columbia.
2. The analysis was done by the Children's Defense Fund of
data collected by the Office for Civil Rights, HEW. See
Marian Wright Edelman, "Winson and Dovie Hudson's Dream,"
Harvard Educational Review, vol. 45, no. U (1975) , p. 425.
3. 42 U.S.C. §2000c (1970).
4. 20 U.S.C. §1606.
5. Keyes v. School District No. 1, Denver, Colorado, 413
U.S. 189, at 192 (1973) .
6. Milliken v. Bradley, 418 U.S. 717 (1974).
7. 402 U.S. 1, at 16 (1971) .
8. Id. at 24.
9. Id. at 25.
10. Robert C. Weaver, "The Suburbanization of America,"
paper presented at the United States Commission on Civil
Rights Consultation, "School Desegregation: The Courts and
Suburban Migration," Washington, D.C., Dec. 8, 1975.
11. By selling a house to one black family in a white
neighborhood and convincing white residents that property
values will subsequently plummet, these speculators buy
houses inexpensively and sell to black families at inflated
prices. U.S., Commission on Civil Rights, Understanding
Fair Housing (1972), p. 14.
12. Christine H. Rossell, "The Political and Social Impact
of School Desegregation Policy: A Preliminary Report,"
paper presented at the 1975 Annual Meeting of the American
Political Science Association, San Francisco, Calif. , Sept.
13. Brunson v. Board of Trustees, 429 F.2d 820, at 827 (Uth
ia. H07 U.S. 484, at 491 (1972).
r U. S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE : 1976 626-331/518
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